Joseph • Artist, Professional, Exotic Funk Soul Brotha

Joseph was born in a small town in Kansas. He was raised breaking horses, riding in parades, milking cows, and feeding chickens. He wore Wrangler jeans and cowboy boots and cowboy hats. He was your average Black cowboy.

In 1985, his family moved to Colorado. They lived in Brighton and Ft. Lupton, a Latinx community. There he became fluent in Spanish and familiar with the culture. Then he moved to Arvada, which was a predominantly white community. There he became a skater, wore Vans, and said, dude. In 1991, he moved to Montbello. There he had to learn about gangs and colors to avoid wearing. Kids thought he was weird, but what saved him from the bullying, Joseph recalled, was his ability to sing and draw.

Today, he snowboards, hikes, enjoys fishing, and karaoke. According to Joseph, he is a weird combination of an urban soul-funk artist with a love for all things worth living. When people ask Joseph, “Are there Black people in Denver?” He replies, “Yes, and WE are amazing!” Here’s what it means to be Joseph in Denver.

Tell me about yourself.

My background is in law, but my passion is art. If I’m working on an art piece, that’s a job. But I also do project management. I have an appreciation of all the arts and culture. I’m also a lover of coffee and even visited Costa Rica once to learn about it.

Who are you?

I am an artist, a creative. I act, sing, and draw. I’m super dorky. I love comic books. I’m a cowboy. I’m a complicated man, and I think that’s what makes me sexy. I’ve spent a lot of life trying to find out who I am. Some of that was due to imitation and some of it comes from failing in life. But through it all, I came to myself, my true self. No one can dictate who you are to other people, so I focus on living authentically. I’m also a lover of people, no matter who you are.

What does it mean to be you?

To get messy and defy the lines is my approach to creating art. If you ever watch me sketch, I skip around all over the paper. I scribble, but somehow by the time I think I am finished there’s a piece of art. Sometimes I love it, sometimes I don’t. But it is an extension of myself, for all to see. My life is kind of held together in the same manner. Scribbled, colorful, and beautifully chaotic. A tale of vibrating, living, orgasmic episodes, and it isn’t over. The journey is just beginning and it’s beautiful.

What does it mean to you to be Black in Denver?

To me, being Black in Denver means being versatile, unapologetic, and an unpopular Black. Denver has allowed me to grow in a way that I feel comfortable with just being. You can exist here, and it’s okay and people will see you.

What do you love most about living in Denver?

Denver has been good to me. They seem to embrace my chocolate, at least on the surface. I also love how clean it is here. When I travel the globe and come home to Denver, I always think, “Denver is so clean.” We have the best water, right off the Rocky Mountains. It’s also okay to try new things in Denver. Hike, bike, ski, and snowboard. Denver is made for an adventurer.

How have your experiences in Denver shaped you?

I love Denver. Green chili and friendly people. It really is the land of milk and honey, if you want it to be.