ELORA – Paintings of farm life, athletics and familiar village faces bring bursts of colour to the tan walls of the Centre Wellington council chamber in Elora.
The art on display is the work of Joe Gohl, who has been living in Elora for about five years.
Gohl attended the council meeting on July 31 with Elora Fergus Arts Council chair Barbara Lee, who described Gohl’s art as stimulating, fun and vibrant.
Gohl said his work is inspired by an idea from artist Henri Matisse that “if you can’t paint what’s in your backyard, you can’t paint.”
All of Gohl’s portraits on display in the council chambers feature people he knows who live in the area, Gohl said.
The paintings include a group of cyclists who Gohl said “bike down Middlebrook all the time,” and a horse and trainer harness racing at the Elora racetrack.
“I just have a lot of fun painting people and stuff around here,” Gohl said.
Worked as cartoonist
Gohl has previously worked as a cartoonist for General Motors and had a studio in Detroit, both for four years. In Detroit he said he was known as the “Coney Island artist,” and he was featured in a book about the city.
Gohl’s love of laughter was clear while he spoke to council about his art, and he said “I try to put just a little bit of humour in each of my paintings – it comes from being a cartoonist.”
He now has a studio on Stafford Street in Elora that he welcomes people to visit.
Gohl said he is grateful for the hospitality of Elora locals and that he really enjoys living here.
For more information about Gohl and his artwork visit joegohl.com.