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Joe Vena

"All creatures are little creatures, in a planetary, big-picture sort of way." 

Hailing from New Jersey, Joe used to run a clay bar at a children's museum in Manhattan. He draws and builds little creatures like those among the mop strings and broom straw in our custodial closet. He lives in Charlottesville with his favorite creatures: wife Lucy, kiddos Jack and Henry, and a scrappy old cat called Pilot.

joe’s Full ARtist Statement

Do you have any little creatures in your yard? Cave crickets in your basement? Fruit bats in your attic? Do you have any little creatures in your life? Little creatures can help. They provide context, perspective and amusement. They remind us that all creatures are little creatures, in a planetary, big-picture sort of way. And what of you and me, with our opposable thumbs, digital content and flavored seltzer? What about us? What have we to offer the little creatures? What will we leave them when we go?

Dear Little Creatures,

All we can offer you is this custodial closet. Nest in its mop string and broom straw. Break its brick to let in sunlight and water, make way for sister tree and brother flower. We owe you an apology, little creatures. I think we were supposed to protect you but I cannot remember. And now we are long gone. Don't be afraid. Adapt. Thrive.

I come from New Jersey and I miss the sandwiches. In pockets of spare time I draw and build little creatures. Once I ran a Clay Bar in a Children's Museum in Manhattan. I aim to run one again, as a very old man in Miami. I live here in town with my favorite creatures: my wife Lucy, our kiddos, Jack and Henry and a scrappy old cat called Pilot.

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Behind the scenes look

More from Joe...

Joe is also the Education Director at IX Art Park. Kids ages 6 to 12 can learn illustration
and sculpture from him in The Daily Creature, a digital art class
uploaded to our Facebook page every weekday at 4:30pm.
Watch the first episode below, featuring the majestic elephant,
and catch up on the full Daily Creature archives here.