January 27, 2021
Joe is literally the ‘Sculptor of History’ in Flint. His statues of Flint’s founding automotive pioneers adorn Saginaw Street in a once historic block that included Smith Bridgman’s Department store, and Kresge’s. His creations, part of the Automobile Pioneers Collection includes a roster of the men who invented the American automobile industry: Charles Stewart Mott, William C. “Billy” Durant, David Buick, Louis Chevrolet, Albert Champion, Charles Nash, and Walter Chrysler.
His most recent statue is the first of a woman, representing Rosie The Riveter. Like Chrysler and Nash’s statues, she will stand at Flint’s Bishop International Airport to welcome travelers.
The Rosie statue represents a poster used to motivate workers in a California defense plant. Rosie is a symbol representing all of the women who stepped up to take charge of the drill presses and rivet guns as most men went to war during WW2. Other Rosies including a woman actually named Rosie who was a Riveter working in the Willow Run aircraft plant in Ypsilanti, and still another famous Rosie was featured on the Saturday Evening Post and drawn by Norman Rockwell. 'Rosie The Riveter” was also a top pop music hit during the war. The bottom line is that she represents all of these women. Joe worked hard to capture that. Fish was proud to be the Master of Ceremonies for that event at Bishop, too!
Joe and his wife live in Flint lumber baron Josiah Begole’s old home. Begole was a member of the House of Representative from 1873 to 1875 and the 19th Governor of Michigan from 1883 to 1885. His home used to be downtown, and has subsequently been relocated to the Miller Road area.
Joe is a self-taught artist, and a man of many talents. He is busy at work on a new set of statues and has no plans of stopping. It’s just a shame we had to stop the interview because it’s packed with great stories!