July 20, 1939 - January 26, 2021
Plainview was home to Joe Garnett from the time he was born in 1939 till he left for college in 1957. All his formative years were spent in a small house in an older, run-down neighborhood with unpaved streets. He came from a family and a time in history where double names were common, but he stopped using his middle name “Edd” when he went off to college. His mom worked as a seamstress, then studied and became an LVN, working for Plainview Hospital for many years. His father was a gifted artist but made a living as a house painter. From the time he could hold a crayon, Joe was drawing on every scrap of paper or cardboard he could find. His mom would give him all the butcher wrap from the meat items she bought at the grocery store. Later, Super Chief tablets and notebook paper were his art pads. Every envelope from the mail and brown package wrapping paper were utilized as sketching surfaces, as well as brown grocery bags. Having an artistic father evidently dumped a powerful load of DNA into the middle child of this family of five. Even though all his siblings carried that artistic gene as well, Joe’s was a huge gift from God through our earthly father. His talent was recognized by his mom and all of his siblings as well. Every available resource was given over to furthering his talent. When Joe was about 10 or 11 he was drawing complete comic book stories by folding several sheets of notebook paper or typing paper, if he could get it, in half, and frame by frame, would draw cartoon-like characters to tell a story. Several of these were entered into an art fair held in the old Plainview auditorium that year and were seen by a man named Klinger who was so impressed, he paid for Joe to take a 4-year correspondence art course – the Famous Artists’ School offered only through the mail. It was a school founded by several artists whose work was regularly seen on the covers of the Saturday Evening Post, including Norman Rockwell and Jon Whitcomb. Klinger was the first singular patron who made a difference in the artistic education of Joe Garnett. Without his support, Joe’s artistic growth would not have flourished as it did. That support reinforced his determination to make a living with his art. The summer Joe was 13, he traveled to Corpus Christi to study watercolor with an artist named O’Hara. Again, the cost was paid by a friend and patron of the arts. He learned quite a lot about painting with watercolors that summer: what kinds of cold-pressed paper was best, how to do dry-brush paintings as well as wet on wet and wet on dry paintings. He returned home to Plainview with many coastal and harbor paintings, and took an after-school job shining shoes in a barber shop to earn money for art supplies. In high school, Joe began to do some custom art for a few patrons around town who valued his work. He was the student artist who designed all the background and feature pages for the Plainview high school yearbook in 1957. Joe began his college life at the Art Institute of Chicago, suffering many hardships from lack of funds. From there he went to the Art Center College of Design in California. Eventually, he returned to Texas to receive his BA from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. His education was part scholarship but mostly hard work. Joe always worked part-time jobs, sometimes several at once, to help pay for his schooling. After completing his education, he returned to Los Angeles to work for a commercial art studio where he painted many movie posters and music-album covers, including the well-known Doors 1972 gatefold album cover “Full Circle” honoring Jim Morrison. It was considered one of the most creative covers of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine. He designed many album covers for Columbia Records, Capital Records, Warner Bros, and A & M Records featuring artists such as Alice Cooper, Aretha Franklin, the Beach Boys, Cheech & Chong, and many others. During his time in California, he was honored with several one-man shows, including one in Calgary, Canada. Joe excelled in many mediums, primarily oils, but he also loved doing three-dimensional pieces in wood, metal, plastic, fiberglass and clay. His painting style varied from landscapes, portraits, and still-lifes, but his heart was never more alive than when he painted abstracts or surreal styles. He always claimed he had more fun with those because they were from his imagination. Most of his work resides in the homes of collectors across America. Most artistic people are gifted in many areas of art, not just one, and Joe was no exception. Writing, for him, became his artistic outlet after moving back to Texas in 1993. He wrote many essays and critiques of other books by well-known authors. He was a talented poet and spent several years honing those skills. He said once that usually one line in the poem would be a gift from God, just appearing in his mind and capturing his attention, then he would build the poem around that one line – it might be the first line, but not necessarily. Joe went on to publish three books of poetry: Tilting Sky, The Green Across My Eyes, and Poetry’s Heart. He worked long distance for a while with a Korean academic who wrote poetry and who helped with the publishing of one of his books in Korea – English on one page and the Korean translation on the facing page. Joe began painting again full time in his retirement and was honored with a Retrospective Show at Wayland Baptist College in 2012. The Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock held an exhibit of his portraits of famous Americans, mainly musicians, in 2014, including a notable Buddy Holly portrait. In conjunction with the Buddy Holly Center, the Tornado Gallery held a show of many other pieces of Joe’s art. Joe Garnett and Sally Gubser shared ownership of an art gallery on Main Street in Plainview for several years and had an Open House in 2014 featuring their art as well as works from several other local artists. Joe always made a point of buying other artists’ work because he was quick to recognize talent that he thought should be encouraged, as he was in his younger years. Many commercial pieces of Joe’s art can be found in and around Plainview. A two-part interview for PBS from 2014 is available at www.radio.kttz.org/term/joe-garnett where Joe reveals his personal journey as an artist. Recognition usually comes late to artists, often posthumously when the artist cannot participate in the joy of seeing how his art affects the common man. What a blessing it was for Joe to be able to see that effect on the face of a person standing in front of his paintings, lost in the depths of the meaning he draws for himself. Joe is preceded in death by his mother Modelle Price Garnett; his father Chester B. Garnett; his brother David Gene Garnett; another brother Ray Don Garnett. He is survived by his brother Chester J. Garnett; a sister Mona Follis (Woody); a host of loving nieces and nephews; many more great nieces and nephews. A private service held by New Horizon will take place for family. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you donate to Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Warrior, AL.
Plainview was home to Joe Garnett from the time he was born in 1939 till he left for college in 1957. All his formative years were spent in a small house in an older, run-down neighborhood with unpaved streets. He came from a family and a time... View Obituary & Service Information
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