JoKo (Joseph Koch) (1907-2012)
JoKo was Ocracoke’s first resident artist
Joe Koch, also affectionately known as JoKo was an artist from Ohio, born in 1908 he found his way to Ocracoke Island in the early 1950’s. At that time he was the only artist in residence on the island, he has numerous pencil drawings of familiar scenes around the island, some are pictured below. In the 1960s Joe and Esther, JoKo’s wife purchased property on School Road (where Deepwater Theater and Books to be Red is located today) and on the corner of School Road and Highway 12 (where Spencer’s Market is today). Health concerns kept the Kochs away from Ocracoke for the last 25 years or so. Over the years they sold all of their island property. The photo above is of him in the 1950’s or 1960’s on Lum’s Dock which is on the harbor opposite of where the coast guard station was. His pencil sketches of Ocracoke scenes are iconic and are treasured by many!
Although he painted, his more popular pencil drawings of Ocracoke and Outer Banks scenery was a hit with locals and tourists. I believe he only signed his work as JoKo!
|Harbor & Docks||Ocracoke beach scene||Howard street|
|Ocracoke Lighthouse||Sand Fences||Skiff and Lighthouse|
Original Framed works below
“Our first trip got us as far as Hatteras. They had a ferry that only carried two cars. It would only run when there was a car to be carried. The advice was not to bring your car over here because there were no roads. So when you come over on the ferry, Jack Willis, who ran the grocery store here, met you with a four-wheel-drive Army surplus truck and you got on that and he just drove on down the into the Village,” he recalls.Ocracoke Village he says was a much different place when he and his wife Esther arrived more than 60 years ago. “What struck me when I first arrived was the language- the brogue, it took a little while to get used to that.” he says.”There’s a story about every print, every drawing, the thing I can say about my work is that its really done out of love.
I loved what I was I was doing and still do. I don’t do anything for the money. If I saw something that was interesting and I thought other people might enjoy it, that’s why I did it” He says.
Previous Exhibits Below-