Artist and founder of Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff, Joe Miller (1939-2023) passed away after months of declining health. According to his obituary, “Joe was born in a car in front of Boone Drug Company, in downtown Boone, North Carolina, February 17, 1939, to Flossie and Cecil Miller. According to his mother, Joe was born in a hurry and never slowed down. He lived his life with enthusiasm, always looking for the next adventure and never being satisfied with being in one place very long.”
Although he initially planned to pursue taxidermy, with dreams of one day becoming a museum conservator, he ultimately found himself back at Boone Drug Company as a pharmacist, studying art on the side. Once gifted a series of watercolor lessons with Noyes Long, he developed a particular fondness for the medium.
Over time, Joe decided to sell a few art supplies at Boone Drug, jokingly putting up a sign over the section that said, “Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff.” The name stuck, and he later left his career in pharmacy to grow Cheap Joe’s into a force in the art materials world.
A fun-loving Southern gentleman, Joe delighted in surprising people by personally delivering packages whenever he travelled across the United States or mailing out art supplies to customers in areas hit by natural disaster. His love of art and artists was infectious, and the loss of his presence will be felt by many. Thanks to his final request, however, his generosity will continue.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Brushes for Vincent – a charitable organization designed by Joe to give persons in distress healing through art.