Feature

Joseph Muscat and the fine art of picture-building

"Do Not Pass, GO" Artwork by Joseph Muscat. Acrylic on Paper. 2015.
"Do Not Pass, GO" Artwork by Joseph Muscat. Acrylic on Paper. 2015.
"SCrude" Artwork by Joseph Muscat. Acrylic on Paper. 2017.
"SCrude" Artwork by Joseph Muscat. Acrylic on Paper. 2017.
"SCrude" Artwork by Joseph Muscat. Acrylic on Paper. 2017.
"SCrude" Artwork by Joseph Muscat. Acrylic on Paper. 2017.

"Do Not Pass, GO" Artwork by Joseph Muscat. Acrylic on Paper. 2015.

Joseph Muscat (Fine Arts, 1981) studied art at OCA, as it was then known, graduating in 1981. He describes the experience at OCA at the end of the seventies as a period of change and renewal, both for himself and the college.  “It was an ideal school for aspiring artists who wanted to have access to courses in both academic drawing, painting, sculpture and printmaking as well as in experimental studios” he says. “The combination prepared me well and emboldened me to start my career in visual arts.” 

Unlike the majority of his fellow students, Muscat came to OCA after completing a BA degree in Sociology from Glendon College, York University. “I was part of a group who thought we were the new revolutionaries at the time. We would meet weekly in each other’s studio and critique each other’s work; that’s where our drive and motivation seemed to come from. Four of us formed a collective, which we called Bearded Mens’ Club, where we organized exhibitions, did installations together, and even dabbled in performance art.”  These four exhibiting artists have had a solid track record and are still very active in the arts community, well represented by established galleries in Canada. In 2006, Mr. Muscat organized a 25-year reunion show at Propeller Gallery to celebrate the important milestone. 

"SCrude" Artwork by Joseph Muscat. Acrylic on Paper. 2017.

Though Muscat’s style is ever evolving, he does see thematic threads running through his 40-year practice. “I’m eclectic in my work. I paint, draw and combine media; I also like to combine representational imagery with abstraction. The subject matter for my work tends to relate to environmental issues and awareness” he says. “I favour a kind of symbolism in my picture- building often lightened with wit or whimsy” 

Muscat showed a new 50-foot wrap-around installation mural at his Fenix Studio and Gallery in February 2017. And in October 2017, he exhibited another such installation work, a 27-foot long mural to custom fit three adjoining walls of the David Kaye Gallery in Toronto. Over the course of his career, he has shown his work in solo and group exhibitions in Canada, USA and Europe, and many of his paintings reside in public, corporate and private collections, including the Canada Council Art Bank and the City of Toronto. He remains very involved in professional artists associations, arts juries and artist-run galleries where he has served on their boards of directors. 

"SCrude" Artwork by Joseph Muscat. Acrylic on Paper. 2017.

Muscat has lectured at the University of Toronto, and for many years he enjoyed teaching part-time at various Toronto secondary schools. At his teaching retirement send-off, Joseph Muscat directed his retirement gift toward an OCAD U scholarship, The Joseph Muscat Scholarship, a prize awarded annually to a Fine Arts student who breaks the rules and creates something unique. “It gives me a lot of pleasure to know every year that a student is being helped in a small way to cover the many costs for art supplies and living expenses because I know how much the scholarship I received while studying art helped me.” 

Find out more: josephmuscatartist.com 




"Do Not Pass, GO" Artwork by Joseph Muscat. Acrylic on Paper. 2015.
"SCrude" Artwork by Joseph Muscat. Acrylic on Paper. 2017.
"SCrude" Artwork by Joseph Muscat. Acrylic on Paper. 2017.

"Do Not Pass, GO" Artwork by Joseph Muscat. Acrylic on Paper. 2015.

Joseph Muscat (Fine Arts, 1981) studied art at OCA, as it was then known, graduating in 1981. He describes the experience at OCA at the end of the seventies as a period of change and renewal, both for himself and the college.  “It was an ideal school for aspiring artists who wanted to have access to courses in both academic drawing, painting, sculpture and printmaking as well as in experimental studios” he says. “The combination prepared me well and emboldened me to start my career in visual arts.” 

Unlike the majority of his fellow students, Muscat came to OCA after completing a BA degree in Sociology from Glendon College, York University. “I was part of a group who thought we were the new revolutionaries at the time. We would meet weekly in each other’s studio and critique each other’s work; that’s where our drive and motivation seemed to come from. Four of us formed a collective, which we called Bearded Mens’ Club, where we organized exhibitions, did installations together, and even dabbled in performance art.”  These four exhibiting artists have had a solid track record and are still very active in the arts community, well represented by established galleries in Canada. In 2006, Mr. Muscat organized a 25-year reunion show at Propeller Gallery to celebrate the important milestone. 

"SCrude" Artwork by Joseph Muscat. Acrylic on Paper. 2017.

Though Muscat’s style is ever evolving, he does see thematic threads running through his 40-year practice. “I’m eclectic in my work. I paint, draw and combine media; I also like to combine representational imagery with abstraction. The subject matter for my work tends to relate to environmental issues and awareness” he says. “I favour a kind of symbolism in my picture- building often lightened with wit or whimsy” 

Muscat showed a new 50-foot wrap-around installation mural at his Fenix Studio and Gallery in February 2017. And in October 2017, he exhibited another such installation work, a 27-foot long mural to custom fit three adjoining walls of the David Kaye Gallery in Toronto. Over the course of his career, he has shown his work in solo and group exhibitions in Canada, USA and Europe, and many of his paintings reside in public, corporate and private collections, including the Canada Council Art Bank and the City of Toronto. He remains very involved in professional artists associations, arts juries and artist-run galleries where he has served on their boards of directors. 

"SCrude" Artwork by Joseph Muscat. Acrylic on Paper. 2017.

Muscat has lectured at the University of Toronto, and for many years he enjoyed teaching part-time at various Toronto secondary schools. At his teaching retirement send-off, Joseph Muscat directed his retirement gift toward an OCAD U scholarship, The Joseph Muscat Scholarship, a prize awarded annually to a Fine Arts student who breaks the rules and creates something unique. “It gives me a lot of pleasure to know every year that a student is being helped in a small way to cover the many costs for art supplies and living expenses because I know how much the scholarship I received while studying art helped me.” 

Find out more: josephmuscatartist.com 

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