Joe Kolb began his career in the business of art at the ripe old age of 19 in 1962, as a technical illustrator/concept artist for a contractor to Manned Spacecraft Center (NASA), in Clear Lake. During the next three years he became a shift supervisor and lead artist. In 1965 Joe joined the art department for SW Bell at their new headquarters in downtown Houston. He took a short detour from 1966 until 1968 to serve in the US Army. Although assigned to the Infantry, he was given an illustrator MOS (military occupational specialty) 81E20, and posted to the Drill Sergeant Academy in Tigerland, Ft. Polk, La. Discharged as an ES Specialist he went back to SW Bell as a promotions artist in sales/marketing. He supplemented his income doing freelance art for several advertising companies and agencies as well as outdoor advertising (hand-painting billboards). In 1973 he and wife, Nancy, moved to Conroe as the daily commute to and from Houston, wasn’t his cup of tea.
After his tenure with SW Bell, Joe soon realized there were no art jobs in Conroe. Noticing the poor quality of advertising art in the local newspaper, he started at the north end of town and worked his way to the south end offering advertisers his talent. This was the beginning of Joe’s total involvement with his new hometown.
After creating Mustardseed Studio, 1977 gave way to Kolb Graphics. Still his art experience expanded in the 1980’s while teaching an apprenticeship graphics course through Lee College system in the Texas Dept. of Corrections, as a Supervisor/instructor, at the Walls and Wynn Units.
During the next two decades Joe’s hometown contributions grew as he served as a committee chairman for the Greater Conroe Chamber of Commerce and was involved in several Main Street Festivals at the Park. He was presented the Gold Award for map design/art from the International Festival Assoc. for Houston; First Place, annual award for The Woodlands Inn and Conference Center newsletter; numerous first place and honorable mention ribbons in watercolor, designer/creator (with Barbara Metyko) of “Willie B-Fried” for Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival; illustrated several ‘published’ books and has designed too many ‘logos’ and art for Conroe/ Montgomery county business’ to name.
Experience gained from painting outdoor bill boards served Joe well around the turn of the century, when he began painting large murals up to 165’ long. Over 65 murals later Joe could no longer meet the physical demands of these large works.
Recently Joe has served as board member and President of the Heritage Museum of Montgomery County; member, Downtown Design Committee; President of the Greater Conroe Arts Alliance; Chairman of the Conroe Commission of Arts and Culture; President of the Uptown District Community Association; member of Texas Honor Ride, a non-profit fund raising motorcycle organization.
Joe is still actively painting and drawing – using his art talents wherever sought.