10 Things to Know About Mysterious Street Artist Jim Joe

New York's favorite artist enigma, Jim Joe, has a big show this month. Get to know him.

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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Jim Joe is a mysterious and curious graffiti writer, who has been spreading his name across the streets of downtown New York for the past four years. His scribbled handwriting dots the urban jungle of the Lower East Side and the East Village, making him a compelling, memorable presence on the city streets. This month, at New York's The Hole Gallery on the Bowery, Jim Joe has an exhibition fittingly titled "January 2014" containing new drawings, paintings, and installation pieces.

Jim Joe's select gallery shows in Paris, Toronto, and New York have shown a different level of quality in his work. The context of his drawings and arrangements allow them to speak more freely. Exaggerated portraits, found material sculptures, and other readymades comprise Jim Joe's portfolio, and the artist draws inspiration from Marcel Duchamp and the Dada movement. Jim Joe has also worked with the likes of Kanye West, showing the breadth of his talent as an artist. Famous for dodging interviews with decoys, however, Jim Joe remains anonymous. We did some digging on the enigma to give you 10 Things to Know About Mysterious Street Artist Jim Joe.

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He's originally From Montreal.

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Marcel Duchamp is one of his main influences.

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He's been spotted in New York since 2010 and has since grown a cult following.

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He was commissioned by Kanye West for Yeezus' iTunes page.

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He's collaborated with Virgil Abloh's Pyrex Vision clothing.

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He was also unimpressed with Shepard Fairey's 2010 mural on the Bowery.

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He answers emails and interviews in unconventional ways.

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Though we haven't been able to get in touch with him ourselves, it seems that Jim Joe is known to reply to emails in riddles and all capital letters, as noted here on Subway Art Blog. His quirky method of communicating definitely adds to his mysterious image as an artist.

He also wrote this strange poem (spoken word piece? avant garde movie script? manifesto?) for Purple.Fr about his show in Paris last year:

The Month Inhabited

For Yes Or For No


And With 2 Many Keys

Each Date Again


And At The Walls

In A Line

Furtive Efforts

Begs The Question

Please Or Thank You

The Answer Is Always Yes

One At A Time

None At Any Time

Never Enough Time

Only Enough Time

- Written by JIM JOE for Purple

He's camera shy.

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Despite his lack of social skills, he has had some major shows.

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He's definitely here to stay.

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