Joe Bova was born in 1941 in Houston, Texas and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After the Air Force (1960-1964), he was educated at the University of Houston (BFA, 1967) and the University of New Mexico (MA, 1969). His work in ceramics using animal imagery was first inspired by the realities of hunting and fishing trips, and later by their power as symbols, surrogates and totems.
Bova’s first teaching position was at Nichols State University, Thibodaux, Louisiana. He taught at and contributed significantly to the programs of Louisiana State University in the 70s and 80s and Ohio University beginning in 1990. His later work continues an underlying eroticism inspired by Moche pottery in addition to an increased sense of socio-political content.
His work can be found in the collections of the Arizona State University Art Museum; Greenville Museum of Art, Greenville, SC; International Ceramics Studio, Kecskemet, Hungary; Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC (two works); and the San Angelo Museum of Art, San Angelo, TX.
A past president and a Fellow of NCECA Bova was awarded the NCECA Excellence in Teaching Award in 2006. Other awards include the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art Fellowship, 1980, an SAF/NEA Fellowship, 1985, several university sabbatical awards, and a fellowship to the International Ceramics Studio (ICS) in Kecskemet, Hungary, 2004. The International Academy of Ceramics, Geneva, elected him a member in 2005.
A decades-long association with Penland includes a term as Chair of the Board of Trustees. Visiting artist appointments have included the NY State College of Ceramics at Alfred, University of Georgia’s Cortona Italy Program, Haystack School in Maine, Penland School in North Carolina, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado.
Bova’s work and teaching has led to extensive travels through Latin America, Europe and China. In 2008 he returned to the ICS in Hungary and again in 2010. He received a Fulbright Award for 2011 to the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Ireland.