Artist's Statement

My work is centered on issues of communication and different forms of reproduction. It is my intention to make artwork that can be ambiguous and possibly contradictory, instead of obvious and certain. I use familiar imagery in ways that create an interactive relationship between the viewer and artwork in order to generate multiple interpretations, questions, and dialogue.

In 2005 I began to address how artists and writers communicate through comics. Currently, all my images are taken directly from “The Invincible Iron Man” comic book, volume 01, issue 178, published in 1982. It is a different kind of super hero issue. Never in this story does the super hero Iron Man ever directly appear. Instead, this issue is split into two different story lines. The first is about a group of neighborhood kids who dress up like their favorite super heroes and protect the streets from bullies and the like. The second is about Tony Stark, the original Iron Man, who recently gave up his super hero life to deal with his failing multibillion-dollar business and his alcoholism.

Comics rely on both text and graphic images to make a storyline move along. By eliminating certain aspects of both characteristics I can begin to deconstruct the entire book. I believe this process begins to call into question how one reads comics and focuses on how presentation affects the way one interprets comic signifiers. These “incomplete” talk bubbles and images provide an opportunity for the viewer to engage with what is provided and to complete the image with her own preconceived notions. The meaning of this work emerges from a unique dialogue between the artwork and viewer. I believe these images can make us consider our stereotypes as we imagine the characters, settings, and words missing from these scenes.


Joseph Lupo received his BFA from Bradley University and his MFA from the University of Georgia. His work has been a part of over 80 different solo and group exhibitions and has been featured at the International Print Center of New York, The Contemporary Art Workshop in Chicago, the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, the Indianapolis Art Center, and The Contemporary Art Center in Atlanta. Joseph’s work is included in various permanent collections including the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University, the Denver Art Museum, the Museum of Texas Tech University, and the Spencer Museum of Art. Joseph served on the Executive Board of SGC International from 2006-2012, and served as the president from 2008-2010. He has received multiple awards and grants for his work as an academic including the “Honorary Member of the Council” award from SGCI (2014), “BIG XII Faculty Fellowship” (2013), “WVU Senate Research Grant” (2008 and 2009), “Excellence in Teaching” (2015), “Excellence in Service” (2014) and “Excellence in Research” (2013) awards from the WVU College of Creative Arts.