LAKE CITY, S.C. – Is Joseph Dreher the king of art or are his friends just joking?
ArtFields attendees can decide for themselves at this year’s annual festival and competition.
Some artist friends bestowed Dreher’s artist name – JOEKINGATL – and it stuck.
“It was kind of an accident,” Dreher said. “I was working with another artist as a volunteer, and he kept saying ‘You’re the best, you’re the king.’ Someone heard my first name [was] Joe and put them together and said, ‘You must be Joe King or joking,’ and the rest is history. The ATL is, of course, for the place I live and love, Atlanta.”
While Dreher loves his hometown, he is not the type of person to get caught in routine, always going to the same places or hanging out with the same crowd. Dreher said he enjoys traveling, meeting new people and always keeping an open perspective.
“When you travel, your perspective of the world grows wider,” Dreher said. “When you talk to someone, especially a stranger, your understanding of humanity grows deeper, and when you do something kind for someone, it gives your life purpose and meaning.”
Dreher’s love for people and desire to share stories that broaden perspectives is showcased through his artwork.
“I became an architect first, and after 20 years discovered my real passion was people and art and making art with, for, and about other people,” Dreher said.
Dreher’s 2019 ArtFields piece, “Plant Vitae,” was partially created using a “portrait partner” technique he developed. Using this technique, people work together to draw each other through a transparent frame.
“The sculptures themselves are bright painted wood and cast acrylic or plexiglass, which has been etched with the drawings of the children in the portraits, a photo I took of the flora in [a] park and a map,” Dreher said.
While the sculptures are colorful and cast shadows in the daytime, Dreher said he also encourages people to view the sculptures at night. A single light source will shine through the sculptures and project the images onto buildings.
Being selected to ArtFields for a third year is an honor, Dreher said. He said he is excited to show his work among fellow talented artists.