Joe Norris

About the Artist

Joe Norris is lauded as one of Canada’s most important folk artists, known for his famous and popular depictions of Maritime life. His quiet illustrations and clean graphic work often capture a simple environment of houses and boats, rock and water, people and animals.

SailboatNorris was born in 1924, and spent most of his life in Lower Prospect, a small town in Nova Scotia. It was here that he developed his love of the Maritime landscape and seascape. Indeed, Norris worked for many years as a fisherman, spending hours at a time on the open water.

A heart attack in 1972 forced Norris to quit the fishing industry. For the self-taught artist, his options must have been clear:  if he couldn’t spend his life on the water, then he could paint that life. At first, he would sell paintings to locals or to tourists. In 1975, however, Norris’ work caught the eye of an antiques dealer who became an important supporter.

Joe Norris’ work can be found in the collections of the Mendel Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Canadian Museum of Civilization. A book of his work, written by Bernard Riordon and titled Joe Norris: Painted Visions of Nova Scotia, was published in 2000. Between 2000 and 2003, a  retrospectiveAn exhibition of work by a senior artist representing all the stages of the artist’s career.  of Norris’ life’s work was toured across Canada.


Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning