Originally from louisville, Kentucky, Joe Wolek studied photography and conceptual art at San Francisco State University and the California Institute of the Arts.
In 1999 his artistic focus took a decided change after receiving a Durfee Foundation Grant that allowed him an extensive excursion to China, Mongolia and Siberia. Subsequently, he ventured back to this area numerous times on photographic expeditions for the University of Pennsylvania and the Smithsonian Institute as well as his own personal forays. These expeditions allowed him to not only peer into other cultures but to also see his own in a new light. Since these initial journeys his projects have focused on the changing aspects of localized culture from the impact of globalization, the diminishing affluence and power of the middle class in the United States and the rise of nostalgia as a societal force. Since his initial excursions to Asia, his ventures have taken him to Russia, Tibet, Iceland, New Zealand, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand and every state within the USA.
Mr. Wolek now resides in Los Angeles where he works as a documentary photographer and location scout in the Hollywood commercial film industry. Additionally, he keeps a dacha on the shores of Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia, (just in case)…