Joseph John Sanchez III

Portland-based artist Joseph John Sanchez III creates work composed of swirling handwritten text, miniature pictures, and repeating patterns that appear as texture from afar. Primarily working in ink pen, the majority of his pieces are rooted in horror vacui—an extreme discomfort with empty space.

Born in New Jersey, Sanchez developed a passion for art through Saturday morning cartoons, newspaper comic strips, and superhero trading cards. He was an especially enthusiastic art student and went on to study printmaking at Wesleyan University.

In 2017, Sanchez relocated to the West Coast. Through a process of experimentation, he adapted and refined his previous technique to develop his current style of meticulous, handwritten word art. He first displayed this work in the Capitol Hill Art Walk, moving on to participate in group exhibitions at The Confluence, Make.Shift Art Space, MIVAL Gallery, and the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center.

Inspired by a 2020 visit to NYC—in which he nearly broke down crying in front of Keith Haring’s “Untitled” at MoMA—Sanchez began to introduce a pictorial element into his pieces. Driven by Haring’s philosophy that “the public needs art”, he aims to make his work accessible for all income levels, proudly and openly toeing the line between low-brow and high-brow art.