Joe Tuggle Lacina ( he/him )

Artist Statement

My work investigates the convergence between identity and technology.

Using a variety of materials, I create paintings and sculptures to express and capture memories, concepts, and dreams. Recurring themes include identity, personal loss and grief, and visions of the future. I explore possible worlds where climate change, ecological degradation, and artificial intelligence take center stage.

My work is embedded with an inherent questioning of humanity, discord, and balance in society. I use symbols and abstractions as a device to open dialogue between the artist and viewer and the artist and the outside world.

Foundational to my work is an expression of self, the studio practice, the dialogue between my worldview and significant artists of the past. My central method focuses on thinking with material and is process-driven and open to improvisation. I typically work on several pieces at once to develop an art-ecosystem. I deconstruct and fragment works to incorporate them into others with the goal of generating new and unexpected juxtapositions. Each work tells a story within the layers of material culminating in narrative or existing in the realms of abstraction.


Joe is an artist, curator, and designer based in Grinnell, Iowa.

Born 1985, Des Moines, Iowa, USA.

Joe holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dimensional Practice from the University of Iowa and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art – MICA.

He is currently employed at Grinnell College in the Department of Art. He is currently involved in projects, programming, and renovations at the Grinnell Area Arts Council. Additionally, Joe is renovating and developing Grin Cupola, a contemporary art gallery and gathering site. Exhibitions are installation-based, online, & XR.

Through the years, Joe has been involved in numerous arts organizations. He founded and co-directed Grin City Collective, an artist residency program, located on his family farm outside of Grinnell, IA. Joe also co-founded and co-curated Extra Extra, an art gallery, and performance space, located in Philadelphia, PA. Joe has also worked at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia assisting with art installation and documentation.

Joe maintains a varied studio practice producing works of sculpture, paintings, furniture, structures (small-buildings), and new media (web-art, NFTs, 3D-prints, XR).