Artist’s NameJoseph "Cody" Statler
Address2307 Jefferson St SW
Roanoke 24014
United States
Map It
Instagram Handle (if any)@statlerarts
Website (if any)
Tell us about you, the artist. Please include a few sentences of biographical information.

It is funny, I do not consider myself an “artist” but more of a creative. That being said I am becoming more and more involved in artistic and creative projects that I might just have to accept the title. I won my high school’s senior superlative for most artistic male student. I then was an art major at Roanoke College, where I had artwork displayed in the Olin Hall gallery numerous times. When I graduated in the Spring semester of 2017 I quickly started my career as a Graphic Designer at Serious Steel Fitness, where I still work today. My artwork can be seen in our community on the corner of Grandin Road and Brandon Avenue. I was a winner of the Pedestrian Safety Campaign “No Need To Speed”, and my illustration was printed and wrapped around the traffic signal box at that intersection. Fast forward to today and I am working as a Graphic Designer for the Artspace Roanoke project, and loving every second of it.

Please describe your artistic practice including the media you work in and your approach to your art.

My artistic practice is eclectic. I transition from designer, to illustrator, to photographer as each project dictates. I would utilize a combination of those skills I have been honing the majority of my life to execute this project.

Describe the proposed work or project.

I am interested in exploring the various religious communities of Roanoke, most of which I know nothing about. I am starting from a place of ignorance and I want to learn and grow on this journey, and then share my findings with the community. But I am getting ahead of myself, let me start at the beginning.

Art was once dominated and directed by religion, and while it is not so today I think it would be an interesting to explore this relationship in a modern setting. The idea for a name I have for this project is something like “exploring the sacred other” or “extending the olive branch”, something like that. Inspired by Humans of New York, and Alan E. Cober’s forgotten society, it would be a hybrid of interviews and portraits. My plan is to photograph various religious leaders in our community. A Christian leader, a Jewish leader, an Islamic leader, a Buddhist, a Hindu etc. and then I would ask them some questions, “what does it mean to be…” “how does it feel to be x in Roanoke?” Letting them speak with their own words. I think the finished product would be some combination of their words and the photographs I take of them. The artwork itself could be pure photographic portraits, or it could include their own words in the images in some way. If possible I am interested in the idea of creating a website to accompany this project. I love the idea of bringing these various religions together for an exhibition or unveiling. At the exhibit I could even create QR codes so viewers could then scan and be sent to specific pages of the site to read or even listen to longer formats of these interviews.

Assuming all of these people and various religions would be open to such a project. Again, I want to stress how little I know about these other faith communities in our city. But I am also so excited to explore and learn. Perhaps even tearing down a few walls or misconceptions in the process. A lofty aspiration I know, but is that not what art is all about?

How will the work advance wellness, justice, or inclusion in Roanoke? Consider a community issue that you hope to address, something you want to celebrate or a condition you want to change.

I think this could be an opportunity to get separate communities of faith in Roanoke to hear each other in a new way. To bring them all together for an exhibit, but also to serve as a starting point. I can envision this project continuing and having a life of it’s own, like Humans of New York.

There is so much hate in our country today, particularly aimed at individuals of differing faiths. I would love to be able to fight back against this and remind us that we are ALL human, and while we may have very different beliefs this city is one we share and call home. Think of the possibilities we can achieve if we stand united.

When do you anticipate undertaking the work? If the project is tied to a set event or date, let us know.

I would start by emailing and or calling these different faith institutions/communities. From there I would meet with the individuals and depending on their preference I would either photograph them or interview them first. I would prepare a list of questions to ask and I would record their responses. I would like to photograph them in their places of worship, using the natural light that the spaces provide if possible.

Are there partners in this effort? If so describe the partnerships and what each partner brings.

The partners would be the faith leaders who are willing to participate in this project. I cannot provide any more details than that currently, as I do not know who would be open to this.

Your theory of change: How will the work advance your efforts as an artist toward an established goal? How will you, a partner organization, or the community be changed?

The work will be beneficial to me as an artist by drastically shoving me out of my comfort zone. As a life long introvert I am fascinated by people but am often timid to try new things. I have actually had the idea for this project for a few years. This artist action grant really feels like the universe calling out to me that it is time to abandon my comfort zone and grow.

I could see this as a potential for individuals of certain faiths to connect more with other members of our community and perhaps make friends outside of their usual circles. Particularly at the exhibit event. I could also see the potential of having the artwork(s) travel around to the different places of worship throughout the community and having the faith leaders of that location speak about the project and invite other groups to attend.

How much money do you need to accomplish the project? (The allowed range is $500 – $3,000.)$1500
What other resources do you need to accomplish the project?

The main resources would be contacts with the different faith communities and then a location to display the finished artwork.

Attach a full budget for your project. Include all costs and revenues. This can be a spreadsheet, word document, PDF, or image.Artist-Action-Grant_Budget.pdf
Submit a PDF of up to five images representing recent projects or works. (Max file size 10 MB). This should be one file containing multiple images. This must be a PDF. Include captions describing the work. (A PDF can easily be made using the “print as PDF” function in MS Word or “Download as PDF” in google docs.)Artist-Action-Grant_Image-Examples.pdf
Do you have general liability insurance coverage for your arts-based business, either through your own policy or through a project partner?Not currently