After a week of searching for Jeremy Joel, sources close to his family have confirmed that the body of the 37-year-old outsider artist was recently found in his Fort Worth apartment. Details about the cause of death have not been made public. In the days leading up to the tragic news, friends of Joel had taken to posting alerts on social media.
One message read, “Jeremy Joel is missing. His last known phone contact with anyone was on Fri May 22. We are all worried about him and want to know that he is safe.”
The post was shared dozens if not hundreds of times.
Joel was a powerful artistic force whose tireless work ethic as an artist was matched only by his love of the people of Fort Worth. His murals adorn Avoca Coffee Roasters’ West Magnolia Avenue location, Spiral Diner & Bakery also on Magnolia, and many other local establishments.
Joel continuously pushed himself and those around him to think bigger. Last year, I asked him if Fort Worth was ready to host the national and international artists he brought to Shipping & Receiving Bar last May for his group show Pass the Peas.
“If we’re not taking advantage of [what we have here], we’re idiots,” he said. “People want something new. This is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. We can’t just be doing the same shit over and over.”
Pass the Peas had become biannual, attracting artists from all over the world. After exhausting the possibilities of house shows, Joel was building a network between local artists and buyers and artists from across the globe. His visions always seemed one step ahead of his adopted home city, but Fort Worth always found a way to step up to meet his ever-growing standards.
Joel was a friend of mine and a dear friend to many in the local arts scene. He was universally loved and respected. He will be missed dearly.