Admin | Contact Us

You are visitor #

Quincy Public Schools Foundation


Recent Articles and Notes about Quincy High School

Life In Abstract

Life in abstract

Sunday, April 23, 2006

"Claire de Lune" by Joe Citro
By Holly Wagner

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

People don't generally plan to buy art when they go out to eat, but that seems a more authentic way to attract a patron than showing one's work in a gallery, says Joe Citro.

"Art should be something that should call to the person," he said.

Citro was responding to that call when he asked his parents, Jim and Cathy Citro of Quincy, for paint and canvas when he graduated from Quincy High School in 1996.

Citro was well known as a golfer and fancied himself a bit of a writer. He hadn't done any drawing since he was a child.

"They thought it was the most random thing," he said. "But painting found me in a way, just kind of chose me."

Since graduating from the University of Missouri with a degree in English, Citro has been painting.

"I can basically think of nothing else," he said. "While I'm doing other things, I'm still thinking about the next painting."

Citro says his work incorporates both form and color. He calls his paintings "imagined landscapes." Many have representational vines and flowers made abstract by the use of bold color. His works sell for between $200 and $3,000, and he's been successful enough in a difficult Midwestern market that he can "live a somewhat meek existence," he said.

Getting started was daunting. Citro studied art at Mizzou alongside "people who had been painting all their lives." He failed to follow directions on one of his first portraits, and it was held up for ridicule. "I sold that later on," he said, "so I guess I got the last laugh."

Gaining the confidence to exhibit took a while. The worst or best part of sharing his works was discovering how people would misinterpret them. "When your expression is kind of a secret to yourself, it's also a secret to everybody else," he said. "Everybody experiences (it) in a different way."

Citro has held shows and his paintings hang at the Cherry Street Wine Cellar and Bistro in Columbia.

They're also posted on his Web site,

His next goals are to get his work before a national audience and eventually international. Citro plans to move to San Francisco soon.

He credits his parents as a major influence in his life. They "allowed us free rein of our imaginations," he said. "They always supported any artistic ability we ever showed an interest in."

His sister, Melissa, has won several awards for her singing. Seeing her pursue artistic abilities gave him the confidence to follow his.

His English teacher Nancy Lohmeyer and art teacher Rose Pritchett also inspired him during his senior year by influencing him to think more about those two art forms.

A biography of Duke Ellington that Citro read helped clarify how the two work together in his life. Ellington said "do two things, don't do one thing," Citro said. "If you're a musician, paint. If you're a painter, do poetry. ... One will help feed the other."

For him, "it's a dance between poetry and painting," he said. "I'm always trying to put poetry into my paintings and painting into my poetry."

Get to know joe citro

Who or what inspires you?

Everything inspires me in some capacity. Artistically, my inspiration is better realized when coupled with a concept, but the primary source of my inspiration is a mystery to me which is the way it should be, because I feel that the artistic process is concerned with and created by the exploration of that mystery.

What do you hope to accomplish

in the next year?

I've been speaking with a couple people about the possibility of having a one-man show in northern Spain next year.

If you could be a color on your palette, which would it be?

Henri Mattise was asked what his favorite color was once and he replied "I don't discriminate against colors, I like them all equally." I agree with Matisse.

View Joe Citro's art and find out

more about him at

Contact Staff Writer Holly Wagner
at (217) 221-3374 or

Back to Listing

Quincy Alumni Association 2013
Sponsored By QPS Foundation