When it comes to murals in Reno, Joe C. Rock is a very familiar name.
Beginning almost 20 years ago as a phantom graffiti artist, Rock, whose given name is Joseph Corgile, is now commissioned to paint walls around town. On the Midtown Mural Tour we give every second Saturday, we talk about and show examples of how Joe has developed as an artist.
During July, Joe and fellow local artist, Erik Burke, painted an impressive large-scale wall on the back side of Junkee Clothing Exchange. Not only is it beautiful work, it features a diverse group of historical figures.
I’m overjoyed to see the huge wall Joe currently is painting at the Reno Playa Art Park on North Virginia Street, across from Circus Circus. The Reno Playa Art Park consists of sculptures that have been at Burning Man. It is the inspiration of Maria Partridge, who works as an Artist Advocate for Burning Man.
Partridge received a small grant from Burning Man and has been taxed with having to raise most of the funds for her project. Art Spot even contributed to the fundraising efforts in June by helping with the Gateway Project party. Back then, the Lear Theater grounds was the projected site. But that changed when the motel lot on North Virginia Street was demolished. This new site came with a wall roughly 35 feet tall by 180 feet long that was screaming for a mural. The mural was an afterthought, but a very good one.
Partridge contacted Joe and asked him to paint a mural. She offered him a very small stipend to paint what should be a $5,000 wall. She realizes it’s paltry compensation.
“Joe C Rock is painting a wonderful mural for the first (hopefully ANNUAL) Reno Playa Art Park – for a fraction of what he SHOULD be paid,” Partridge wrote on her Facebook page. “I love his generosity but am also appealing to private donors to help this struggling artist – Every little bit helps.”
As artist advocates who want to see artists get paid their worth, we’ve offered to be part of the campaign to help raise money to pay Joe. We’ve set up a PayPal account and are asking those who enjoy the murals in our city to please help pay Joe what he deserves. One hundred percent of your donation will go to him.
Having spent 60 hours so far and estimating it’s going to take another 60 to complete the detail work, Joe is loving the project. It’s allowed him to work independently on a very large space. He said Partridge asked him to draw the mountain range, but said he had to do more than that. So, he went to Mark Hammon and Debbie Wolff, co-owners of Nevada Fine Arts and seasoned Burning Man photographers, and asked to comb their collection. He found a picture of a couple kissing and knew that had to be in the foreground. It was the Burning Man edge that the landscape needed.
If you’re curious about the process, I encourage you to go stop by and observe. He said he plans on being there every day until it’s finished. A reception on Nov. 10 is planned at the Park.
In addition to the PayPal portal, we’ve decided to feature Joe’s murals on our next Midtown Mural Tour on Nov. 12. Let’s call it the Rock Retrospective. And, of course, all the money we raise will go to the Help Get Joe Paid fund.
We are excited to do this but look forward to the day this type of fundraising isn’t necessary and people see an artist’s worth. Visit this page to make your donation, http://renogatewayproject.com/donations/.