"There has never been a more exciting time to be an artist," says Joe Axton. "We have so many new materials to work with, so many new themes to explore." Joe began his artistic career as a graphic designer, seriagrapher and photographer in the "alternative" culture of the American West Coast. "At the time," he says, "my friends and I were offended by the elitism of high-modernist art. Art was for people, not curators and critics. We felt art should be more democratic--so I was a printmaker." Joe began painting in earnest while working as a scene designer and stage painter. "Actors are basically just painting in another medium. And, at heart, I'm an actor working on canvas. I look for the drama in a scene. I intuitively see in terms of dramatic energies on a dimensional stage." Painters and actors, says Axton, also analyze in similar ways. "We share an inherently pre-Modernist interest in the sublime: those sensual experiences that transcend sense, forming the bridge between the physical and the spiritual: the beautiful, the beguiling, the enthralling, the enchanting--which for me is encapsulated in figure painting. . .which is also a very theatrical genre."Axton studied at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz, California, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, and did his doctoral work in theories of criticism at the City University of New York. His original work is represented by galleries throughout the U.S. and Canada.