Joel Ross is an american artist working with a variety of media from photography to installation. He holds an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art (1992) and a BFA from Tufts University (1990). Born in Port Arthur, Texas, he is the son of a police sergeant and the grandson of a Baptist preacher. He received a discharge from the United States Marine Corps in 1984. Currently he is an Associate Professor in the School of Art and Design at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Two intertwined and consistent themes run through the artist’s practice: his fascination with the role of the roadside in the mythos of American culture, and the slipperiness of language. His interests lie in how context and form shape the way a story is understood and re-interpreted over time, and how storytelling shapes one’s beliefs. His works are physical manifestations of true, poetic, often unflattering, sometimes heartbreaking, accounts of pieces of lives lived. In the artist’s own words, “We survive the day, and then we sit around telling stories about it. It is how we make sense of the world. It is how we arrive at the truth.”