Joe DeNardo was born in 1979, and grew up in various midwestern suburbs. His immersion in punk rock led him to school in Olympia, Washington, where his studies branched out from Photography and Electronic Music into Film and Political Economy. DeNardo has been a member of the art-punk group GROWING for 14 years and has directed and photographed various music films, including IMA NEMA an expressionistic movement around Bulgarian folk singing. He continues to explore expanded shapes of sound and image in his collages, films, and music.

by Michela Arfiero


How did it begin? When I was 3 or 4 my earliest memory is of my neighborhood brightening and darkening throughout the day, feeling cold and warm, and not knowing why. I obviously didn't know or understand clouds and their relationship to the sun, but I was curious.

How would you present your work? Loud and proud.

Where do you make your works? At home, on location, at Staples, in a photo lab, at a horrible practice space, etc etc.

What can’t be missing from your worktable? Coffee or beer.

The market or your need to express? Anti-Capitalist.

Lightness or depth? What's the difference?

Day or night? Day for night.


Tell me about your work. Images move and are still. Still images can also move. Photocopying, cellphones, analog video mixers, still photographic formats, light boxes; I've used everything available to create the right temperament. Are motion pictures sculptures of material light and effect? I don't want my work to be steeped in the print or projection processes of a certain period, but to employ techniques and technologies from varied eras of image-making. Stacking images and sounds, collaging 'stories' in an edit; my first impulse is to collect, second to assemble and assess, and hopefully in finishing a piece to discover a new experience, now a memory.

Could you briefly describe one of your latest works? A lightbox showing an image of an upside down group of bushes.

What is the relationship between image and music in your work ? It's something that is constantly in flux. I don't want them to rely on each other, but to work in tandem at times. When it comes to film, I'm not interested in a manipulative soundtrack, but a set of sounds that conceptually work with the image - to sit together and work together. Ultimately they're all just elements, though, like paint and paper, stone, plaster, etc... 

What artists are you looking at, at the moment? A lot of Peter Piller, Molly Zuckerman-Hartung, Sarah Braman, Paul Sharits. I rewatched the original MAD MAX the other day. It really holds up.

What are you reading? Cookie Mueller, “Wlkaing Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black”, 1990.

A Film? Can be Wonderful thing.

How much does your living in Brooklyn influence your work? This city is just so big. It's always reorienting itself to you and vice versa. It's survival instinct, access, marketplace, margins, and exposure. The constant struggle and anxiety can be a useful, if violent drive. 

If you weren’t an artist, what job would you like? Baseball player.

A dream of yours? To be free of my fear of time.

Nature is? Wild, man.