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May 31, 2020
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Combining talent in art with some business savvy, Joe Papagoda is making a name for himself in the art world. 

Photo by Matthew DaCorte/The Courier

Combining talent in art with some business savvy, Joe Papagoda is making a name for himself in the art world. (Photo by Matthew DaCorte/The Courier | Buy This Photo)

From Hotel Walls to Yoga Pants, Joe Papagoda’s Making his Mark

Published May 31, 2017

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Local artist Joe Papagoda has been drawing and painting since a young age, and now, you may see his artwork on something other than canvas.

Joe says he’s become known for his abstract artwork, and has sold many paintings on his own. In early 2016, he was invited to join the ArtStar Gallery, which sells limited edition prints of Joe’s paintings online.

Through ArtStar, Joe was connected to La Forma, a clothing company that features exclusive art-inspired garments on yoga and athletic wear.

“They’ve got some of my early abstract artwork on tank tops, sports bras, yoga leggings,” Joe says.

Joe says that many pieces of clothing with his work on it have sold out not only once, but twice.

In addition to art, Joe has also been involved with photography, which he began around age 16.

“I did fine art photography, I did paintball photography at local paintball businesses like Hogan’s Alley, and through photography I got more interested in fine art, and eventually I got interested in abstract painting,” Joe says.

He studied at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where he received an associate’s degree in photography and a bachelor’s degree in art history.

Through an art show in San Francisco that was hosted by his school before he graduated, he was commissioned by the Tilden Hotel for a 65- x 35-foot mural.

“It’s actually an original painting on a smaller canvas I made, but through a photo of that painting, we’re going to print it at 65 feet,” Joe says, “It’s going to be seen throughout the whole hotel.”

The banner won’t be done until the end of this year, but Joe says the original it’s based on is now at the hotel.

In addition to his collaborations with the Tilden and La Forma, Joe has more than 10,000 followers on his Instagram account, where he posts his works. His works have also been featured in several Buzzfeed articles about abstract art, and had a self-portrait of himself in Photographer’s Forum Magazine’s Best of Photography 2016 book.

The photo, which he took himself, is a black and white of Joe in his studio.

When it comes to photography, “My favorite is black and white,” Joe says.

That said, Joe says painting is his favorite medium, with his favorite style being abstract expressionism.

“It’s really great, because you can do what comes authentically to you,” Joe says.

Joe says that marketing is another useful talent, and he’s grateful he was able to learn about spreading awareness for photography when he was younger. He said that, plus what he learned about marketing in college, made it an easier transition to get the word out about his paintings.

As for what’s next, Joe said he isn’t quite sure yet, saying that things happen spontaneously, such as getting invited to exhibitions. He said La Forma hasn’t ended its current line yet, but it does have a summer line coming out with which he may be involved. He also said he may look for a gallery that would be interested in doing a solo exhibition of his work.

Joe offered some advice for aspiring artists, saying to learn small business tactics and strategies, such as digital marketing.

“Also, just like everyone always says, you’ve got to be yourself,” Joe says, “Art is all about showing your own style, and you’ve really got to just be yourself in art.”

Joe says it’s really satisfying and fascinating that so many people can see and enjoy his work. He says he started doing photography and sharing it online occasionally, and not only is his art online now, but people buy it and collect it, and he’s able to sell it to a lot of different markets.

“It’s really dynamic now; it’s not just a single picture on a wall,” Joe says, “It’s all over the Internet, it’s in galleries, it’s on clothes, so it’s really great.”

Those interested in viewing Joe’s work can visit his website,

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