Thank you to Charm City Wire and Mike Reft for this great article.
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by Mike Reft
This month’s Charm City Wire Artist Profile brings you Joe Barsin, a talented graphic artist and genuinely great guy to meet. Joe is sure to become a household name in Maryland, seeing as how every Marylander is at least faintly familiar with his work: the Treasure the Chesapeake state license plate.
It may surprise you, after seeing some of Joe’s brilliantly colored, Maryland-themed work, that he is originally from Akron, Ohio. Before designing many logos and posters around Maryland, Joe graduated with honors from Kent State University and experienced art and culture throughout Europe. After earning his Bachelors in Fine Art, Joe moved to Baltimore, MD and gained a large amount of experience with various advertising agencies (examples of work) throughout the Delmarva area. There’s “tons of great stuff about Maryland”, he explained over drinks at Mother’s in Arnold, MD (where much of his work is on display). Joe brings a welcomed perspective on Maryland from his Ohioan roots. “New York is great,” he explained, “but so expensive – so everyone is in survival-mode. In Baltimore, you can let your wings fly.” There’s a higher appreciation for the environment because of the Bay, and an “equal playground” for both environmental and business interests.
The key to Joe’s business success lies in the excellent partnership with his wife, Eva, who acts as his Artist Representative. Together, they started JEB Design, Inc. in 1998. She allows the creative juices to keep flowing by approaching the store buyers and managers. Add all of that to being a mother of two (Joe and Eva’s boys: Robert and James Barsin), and you have the most valuable colleague and partner in the world. That’s not to say that making a living with art has been particularly easy, however. Joe has experienced difficulties during the recession like many of his colleagues who had to change professions to stay afloat. Joe recalls drawing strength from a patchwork quilt that he had completed when he was younger:
“All artists are best when they’re young, but to be aware of that is half the battle. You need these works that you completed when you were young to harken back to your purpose.”
Since then, Joe has used his skills in graphic design to put his work everywhere from large canvases to car magnets. Joe’s artwork uses bright colors and shading that really evoke the sense of beauty that Charm City and its surrounding areas have to offer.
Most recently, Joe and Eva have been putting in a ton of work on the front end of their Citizen Pride campaign; a nationwide effort to produce state-exclusive work like that of JEB Design Inc.’s Oriole, Raven, Chesapeake Retriever, and Crab pieces (check out the gallery below). They make such a great team and represent some wonderful works of art that any state would be lucky to call its own — we’re just glad that Maryland inspired Joe first.
A Joe Barsin original, sure to be a hit this football season. Coming Soon: The Maryland Terrapin!
A Joe Barsin original: The Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Eva Barsin created this great photo montage for our Facebook cover image. It truly conveys how we have been a team with our biz and raising kids. – Joe Barsin
The JEB Design, Inc. office. To the left are posters that Joe created in college and to the right is a quilt that he made before he started making a living from his work. “You need these works that you completed when you were young to harken back to your purpose.” – Joe Barsin.
Charm City Wire photo-op – Joe Barsin (left) and I @ Mother’s in Arnold, MD
It doesn't get more Maryland Pride then this!
Sincerely, Joe Barsin