One retired professor is making the marks of his youth last a while longer. 

Joe Sartor, an art professor at Morehead State for over thirty years, pursued his love of producing art as a career after going through school and serving in the army. His passion has existed since his childhood. 

“Like all children, I had that interest to make marks on anything,” said Sartor, a Fulton, Missouri native. “I spent a lot of time sketching and drawing when I should’ve been doing lessons. And that just kind of stayed with me. You begin to want to find a way to make those marks last longer.”

He said that although he was never considered to be talented as a child, the satisfaction of producing art pushed him to continue.  

“I wanted to learn more about it. I wanted to develop that interest,” said Sartor. “It’s a lifetime journey and some people really have it from the beginning, they have an outstanding ability and are born with it. But I think in my case it was more a matter of desire and determination.” 

His artistic journey began to seriously develop when he attended college and was able to attend art galleries and museums that further fed into his desire to enter the art world. 

Sartor said these experiences were his first sense of growth, direction and nourishment that honed on his abilities to succeed. 

His artworks are inspired by both his surroundings and his subconscious thoughts. 

“I try to capture the moment or the superficial appearances, but I also try to infuse something personal,” said Sartor. “It’s probably one of the most noticeable characteristics of my paintings.”

Sartor said he measures his success through the deeper connections his pieces radiate rather than their initial appeal. 

“I rather enjoy the gratification of developing an idea from beginning to end and find it has succeeded as a form and idea content, not just surface appeal, and something original, hopefully,” said Sartor. “It’s very hard to be original, maybe impossible. But you still try.” 

Being able to have people stop a moment and reflect on his work and form a personal relationship with it is his overall goal.

“It’s not so much about the imitation or the decorative aspect entirely but trying to make it something that’s a little more individualistic and has an appeal that can cross over to another individual.” 

His art exhibit at the Rowan County Arts Center, which was mostly composed of new artwork produced during the pandemic, granted him the ability to form these connections with the Morehead community in which interested viewers were able to personally speak with Sartor about his artwork. The event concluded September 3.