Judith Joseph - Art and Public Sculptures
Judith Joseph
Judith Joseph

Judith Joseph

Chicago, IL

"Visual Artist; Story-Teller, Culture Communicator"
Judith Joseph is a Chicago based visual artist: printmaker, painter, calligrapher and installation artist. Her decades-long practice of creating personalized custom works of art, chiefly illustrated marriage contracts (ketubahs), has enriched her skills at collaborating with people to tell their stories. She has many works in public and private collections, including the products of artist residencies with school children and calligraphically inscribed donor works.
A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she has a B.S. in Art from the University of Wisconsin. She has had numerous solo exhibitions of her work, including the Kraft Center at Columbia University, New York, the Illinois Arts Council Gallery, Chicago, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a two-person exhibit at Zack Gallery, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
Joseph exhibits widely, including two 2019 exhibits in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Her work may be found in hundreds of private collections and many public collections, including the Chicago Public Library, Respect and Tolerance Foundation (Czech Republic), Milwaukee Public Museum, North Shore Congregation Israel (Glencoe, Illinois), KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation (Chicago, Illinois), Westmoor Elementary School (Northbrook, Illinois), Hillel-Milwaukee and Family Service of Oak Park/ River Forest, Illinois.
Joseph’s work has been featured in several books about art and many newspaper and magazine articles, academic journals, zines and radio features. She has received numerous awards, including the Illinois Arts Council Artists' Fellowship Award (1998 and 2004).
Q&A

How do your pieces come to life? Tell us one interesting thing about your creative process?

"I've noticed that creative ideas come to me at certain times: usually just when I'm waking up or when I'm in the shower. I've learned to pay attention to the ideas that come when I'm in these relaxed states and make a point to remember them."
-- Judith Joseph
Q&A

What do you want people to do or feel when they encounter your creations?

"I want them to experience a rush of sensory pleasure as they enjoy the beauty of the work, followed by moments of insight and discovery as they decode what they're seeing. I want the story embedded in the work to grow and change with the viewer over time, so it retains fresh relevancy."
-- Judith Joseph
Q&A

What funny moments, unexpected surprises, or obstacles have you encountered?

"I recently visited a series of 12 paintings that were purchased by the City of Chicago for a branch of the Chicago Public Library, in 1982. I had never seen them installed, so I went to see them in this public building. I was happy to see that they held up for me, artistically. This was the first significant sale of my career, at age 25, and seeing this work was like looking into a mirror at my younger self. It is wonderful to look back and see where I've come from, and feel good about the journey."
-- Judith Joseph
Q&A

What is your favorite material to work with?

"It's hard to choose a favorite: I'm currently enamored of woodcut prints, but I love painting in egg tempera, which is brilliantly colored and allows me to work in minute detail."
-- Judith Joseph
Q&A

What motivates and inspires you?

"I am inspired by the lifelong work of Pablo Picasso, who brought incredible creativity and energy to his work, as he experimented with mediums and styles, yet expressed his personal vision in everything he made."
-- Judith Joseph
Q&A

What makes a space special?

"Much of my work is Ketubot (personalized, illustrated, hand-lettered marriage contracts), so they are hung as a focal point in the home of the couple. They cherish the work as a cornerstone of their new family, in addition to its value as an art piece. So, each of these works becomes a significant presence in the home."
-- Judith Joseph
Q&A

What’s unique about your work?

"I am able to tell a story with rich detail, brilliant color and intricate detail. I enjoy commissioned work and treat my clients as collaborators in the process of expressing their story."
-- Judith Joseph
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