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Joe Rivera - Visual Artist 

New York born commission and visual artist with a focus on portraits, pets, and sports & fitness.

A Brief Artistic History

I have been making art since I was 5 years old. I must have had some level of natural skill. From as far back as I could remember, the adults in the room guided/encouraged me to follow the path of art making. Throughout my childhood, I was known as the "artist" of the class, group, family, etc.


Once I went to high school, my focus was more intense with regard to the arts. I was learning about alternative ways to create artwork. Calligraphy and marker painting stand out in my memory. College came 2 years later. I attempted to get into the comic book industry in the time between. Undergrad was an uncertain time. I jumped from major to major and school to school. 7 years later I made my own degree and even a few courses of study for myself. I basically graduated with a useless college degree and languished in retail employment. I made the switch to education and became an art teacher.


At the same time, I entered graduate school for art education to "legitimize" myself in the teaching world. Within months of graduating from that program, I entered my second graduate program. The second one was more for me. It was meant to help my personal art grow. Ultimately, what I walked away with was a change in my ways of seeing.

After college, I continued my career in art education working in the most at-risk districts in my area until this very day.


My Style

Late 2017 was a breakthrough year in my artistic journey. I made a single painting of white lines on black paper. The white lines represented the light glinting on the contours of a nude female figure. It was the progression of seeing. Once I posted it to social media, the artwork was noticed by a member of an art group on Facebook. She asked me to be a part of her show in Harlem, NY.


I produced 13 more paintings in two weeks. The night of the show, there was much interest in the work. They all centered on the light and shadow of each subject. The artworks were very simple in composition and predominantly done in black & white with a very small amount of color in only one of the works. 

After the buzz from the Harlem, NY show, the figure remained the focus. This style began to evolve, experimentation started to occur with regard to materials, application methods, surfaces, and subject matters. The paintings grew from hints of color to full color artworks with black & white moving from predominant to supportive.

Through exploration, my process moved to a concentration on portraits and subsequently pets. This evolution sparked a flurry of requests for commissions of human portraits and pet portraits.

This artistic form stems from the digital manipulation of an image through the adjustment of a series of online tools. It is altered to an extremely high contrast level. Other manipulations include the adjustment of color using the hue, luminance, saturation and the use of alterations of tinting.

This art is done using predominantly acrylic markers with the occasional use of spray paint and India ink. I have chosen these mediums for their ability to be applied quickly and smoothly, can maintain details, and fit the style in that there is no blending or mixing of colors in the artwork. Each color maintains its own field.


A fellow artist explained the process as if I were a "color printer" in that I layer colors from lightest first to darkest. I hope you enjoy my art portfolio and consider one for yourself or a loved one.


1995-1997 &


Stockton University (B.A. - Liberal Studies - Costume Design for Graduate Study)


The Ohio State University


Boston University (M.A -. Art Education)


Vermont College of Fine Arts (M.F.A. - Visual Arts)



"John Lennon at the Spiral Mosque of Samarra" - If Picasso went on Vacation, Firehouse Publishing


Dec 2018-Jan 19

"Holiday HeART" - Calvaria Gallery - Millville, NJ

Nov - Dec 2018

"Calvaria Invitational" - Calvaria Gallery - Millville, NJ

August 2017

"The LOVE Show" - Harlem, NY

"Digital Art" - Riverfront Renaissance Arts Center - Millville, NJ

February 2017

New York City Contemporary Art Fair - New York, NY (Represented by Laura Greb & ARTMEME)

July/Aug 2013

Graduation Exhibition - Vermont College of Fine Arts - Montpelier, VT

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