Introducing Leawood Artist, Joseph Lorusso

Joseph Lorusso was born in Chicago in 1966 and received his formal training at the American Academy of Art. He went on to receive his bachelor’s in fine arts from the Kansas City Art Institute. Born of Italian descent, Lorusso was exposed to art at an early age. Through several early trips to Italy, his parents introduced him to the works of the Italian masters. Lorusso would look to these influences throughout his early artistic development, and they are still evident in his work today.

Lorusso creates landscapes and figurative works. In painting these subjects, he has concentrated on honing his powers of observation, especially as it concerns to color, texture, form and composition. Lorusso’s paintings have been described as warm and dreamlike, places of restful escape with a sense of spirituality, and share timelessness with the works of other eras. One of the main drivers in Lorusso’s work is his need to tell a story or convey a narrative—at least as a beginning as to allow the viewer the ability to complete the story as they see it. For Lorusso, the connection with the viewer is what ultimately completes the painting.

“I believe truly 
great art serves as 
a trigger into 
something deeper 
within all of us,” 
Lorusso says.

The mood and emotion conveyed in Lorusso’s paintings evoke a deep sense of beauty found in the quiet times of daily living. His people are mysterious, lonely, romantic and yet familiar, placed in settings we often see ourselves. Lorusso’s paintings have gained notoriety for their ability to connect with the viewer, resonating in a way that is intimate and personal. Viewers often see themselves in his paintings as one can easily identify with the subjects in universal themes of love, contemplation and reflection.

While in school, Lorusso was recruited by Hallmark Cards Inc., which is what brought him to Kansas City, and from 1988 to 1999 served as an artist in their greeting card division. Lorusso has also served as an instructor of painting and drawing at the Kansas City Art Institute and the Scottsdale Artists School, and currently teaches several workshops around the country.

Lorusso’s work has been shown internationally and has won numerous awards and honors. He has been featured in American Artist, Southwest Art, U.S. Art, Art & Antiques, Artist’s Magazine, ARTnews, American Art Collector, International Artist and Art Talk magazines. Lorusso’s work is part of many private collections. His work is in the permanent collections of the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art in St. Joseph, Missouri; the Wichita Museum of Art in Wichita, Kansas; and the Beech Museum at Kansas State University, and he is regarded as a leading figure in contemporary figurative realism. Lorusso is currently represented by McLarry Fine Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Bonner-David Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona; Newbury Fine Art in Boston; Principle Gallery, in Charleston, South Carolina, and Alexandria, Virginia; Jones and Terwilliger Galleries in Carmel, California; Broadmoor Galleries in Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Saks Gallery in Denver.

Lorusso lives with his wife, two children and a cat named Blue in Leawood, and is represented locally by Blue Gallery.

For more information, visit 

Lorusso will be teaching a two-day workshop, Constructing a Painting in the Studio Setting Workshop, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. February 22 and 23 at the Irene B. French Community Center, 5701 Merriam Drive, Merriam, KS 66203. The class is $150 for 14 hours of instruction. For more information, visit