Ancient History: The Lost Mazes of Joe Wos

Ancient History: The Lost Mazes of Joe Wos

Every now and then I will be sent some artwork of mine that a teacher or friend finds in a drawer somewhere. Part of me dreads seeing it! I look at it and think “Yikes, I was awful!”

It reminds me of two stories:

I received a copy of my middle school newspaper in the mail. Me and my daughter (who is a very talented young artist) were examining the artifact as I showed her my handiwork from when I was just a little older than her.

She took one look at the art and said..”um. You weren’t very good.” I agreed. She then asked “Why did you keep drawing if you were bad at it.” I said “I didn’t know how bad I was, but I did know I would get better.”

and then I told her this story:

When I was a little boy my dad would often tell me “A bumblee’s wings are too small for him to fly. His body is too large and too heavy for those tiny wings. A bumblebee should not be able to fly.” I would then ask “Well then, how does it fly?” My father in his wisdom would reply “Because no one ever told him he couldn’t.”

And so it was with my art. No one ever told me I couldn’t do it. My parents encouraged me, my teachers encouraged me and my friends encouraged me. Then one day I was finally as good as I actually thought I was when I was a kid. It took me 30 years to live up to my imagination!  I am sharing these because perhaps there are young people out there who see their work and think they aren’t good enough. Well chances are you are a lot better than I was, and chances are if you practice you’ll be a lot better than I am now.

With that in mind… here are some ancient pieces from Beth DeRiso, a woman I tried to impress with my funny pictures when I was a 20 year old artist!



I do love the random nature of my mazes back then. I would actually draw things into the maze as I went along with no rhyme or reason.


Inexplicable randomness.




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