Joe Tuggle Lacina

Artist Statement

I would describe my art as experimental, surrealistic, and abstract.

I use materials such as wood, paint, 3D-printed objects, and recycled building materials to express and capture memories, concepts, and experiences. Recurring themes include expressions related to identity, personal loss and grief, and visions of the future where climate change, ecological degradation, and artificial intelligence take center stage. My work is influenced by digital media, sociology of architecture, and philosophy.

Process, juxtaposition, and improvisation are important to my practice. Each work contains a coded narrative. Works range in medium and content. Works are embedded with an inherent questioning, about humanity, discord, and balance in society. I use symbols and abstractions as a device through which a dialogue is opened between the artist and viewer, the artist and the outside world. My work is an expression of self, the studio practice, the dialogue between my vision and great artists of the past.

Favorite materials: wood, steel, glue, acrylic paint, foam, assorted hardware, 3D-printed PLA, clay, microcontrollers, found objects, play-sand.

I often recycle materials from past works until the piece is stabilized and concluded, or the materials are dismantled and discarded.


Joe Tuggle Lacina is an artist, builder, and poet 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.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 the town of Grinnell, IA. Joe also co-founded Extra Extra, an art gallery and performance space located in Philadelphia, PA. Joe briefly worked at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, as a tour guide and assisted with install and documentation. He is currently involved in projects, programming, and renovations at the Grinnell Area Arts Council,, located in downtown Grinnell, IA.Joe is currently the Studio Art Technical Assistant at Grinnell College and the Interim Residency Development Director at Prairie Star Residency,