Joseph Tipay was born in Fresno, California on January 1980. He works primarily in printmaking. His prints deal with the struggles of his Mexican American family, and the beauty that comes with adversity. It’s also a reflection of the economic, cultural, political and social climate. Some issues expressed include gangs, incarceration and violence, but he also touches on family bond, unconditional love, compassion and humanity.
As cliché as it sounds art saved Joseph Tipay’s life. While many young Chicanos in East Fresno got involved in gangs, he locked himself in his room to sketch all night. His mother found art as a way to keep him close to her and out of the streets. However, he credits the streets for teaching him art both directly and indirectly. His first art teacher was his Nino George. As a child he would sit on a crate and watch his Nino paint murals, low-riders, and commercial signs. He learned more from his Nino than the art starved public schools he attended.
These experiences led him to San Jose State University where he obtained a Bachelors Degree in Studio Art with an Emphasis in Education in 2006. There he learned about art’s deep history, and gained technical artistic proficiency. He also studied Printmaking, Multicultural Arts, and Chicano Studies, which led him to investigate the role of art within various cultures and its impact on society.
While studying at San Jose State he took a class taught by Rupert Garcia, a prominent artist during the Chicano Art Movement. He advised Joseph to pursue his dream and “just make pictures”. His words of encouragement led him to pursue an M.F.A. in Printmaking at the Academy of Art University where he will graduate in December 2013.
Joseph works on large-scale woodcuts, which investigate the effects of parental incarceration. Like many other artists/activists, Joseph chose printmaking because of its ability to create multiples. Joseph’s work has been shown throughout California in both galleries and in the street. He has shown at the Academy of Art Spring Show, San Francisco in 2013, and he will also have a series of prints on the walls of Calwa Park in Fresno, CA.