Joel Stewart was born in Danville, California. At the age of twenty six he traveled to Kobe, Japan, eventually moving to Kyoto where his artist friends Daniel Kelly and Brian Williams live.
Stewart is one of the younger American artists living in Japan. Stewart derives all of the inspiration for his prints from living in Kyoto. Stewart says that Kyoto is a "close-up" place with narrow streets and a narrow personality.
In 1995, with Stewart's career ready to take off, he left a candle burning in his studio. His entire studio burned down. Reflectively, he says the experience was cleansing. The images that were strong enough and important enough to him have resurfaced in his prints and paintings.
Stewart says that, "To recreate an image is to own that image. I feel like I want that object in my life. If I can capture it visually, I have achieved that."
Stewart creates mystery, magic and spontaneity in his prints and paintings.
Museums: Cleveland Museum of Art, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Portland Museum, Los Angeles County Museum.