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Serigraphy, Celebrities, and Joe Petro III

(March 2004) posted on Thu Mar 11, 2004

We revisit Kentucky printmaker Joe Petro III, a talented artist whose screen-printing skills have attracted attention from a wide variety of personalities.

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By Ed Newman

It began with an Internet search for something to make me laugh. A few clicks later, I found myself on a Website featuring screen prints by Jonathan Winters, seminal funny man of the Boomer generation. I vaguely recalled that Winters had gone to art school, but I'd never known of his screen-printing connection. Because my own background included time in the screen-printing industry, I decided to investigate further.

As I began researching Winters' art career and its intersection with screen printing, I discovered that author Kurt Vonnegut, the "Mark Twain" of the Boomer generation, had screen-printing connections as well. And two more mouse clicks yielded a link to screen-printed illustrations by Ralph Steadman, the "Gonzo" artist who earned notoriety for his illustrations in Hunter S. Thompson's novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

The common denominator among all three of these individuals isn't just serigraphy, it's the serigraphy of Joe Petro III, a Kentucky printmaker and artist whose work was the focus of an earlier article in this magazine ("Joe Petro III: A Printmaker of Many Interests," by Craig Latscha, Screen Printing, Dec. 1990, p. 107). In that article, readers learned about Petro's introduction to fine arts and serigraphy and saw a collection of the artist's brightly colored original works, including pieces commissioned by the Iams Corp. and Greenpeace. In the years since that first article, Petro's talent has continued attracting prestigious clients, and today, he not only sells art to high-profile personalities, but he also works with many of them to bring their own art to life through serigraphy (Figure 1).

In the beginning


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