Joel Curran was born in Providence, Rhode Island, attended Classical High School and Brown University. He graduated from Washington University Medical School and continued with pediatric training at Bronx Municipal Hospital in New York City.

After his residency training he was commissioned as a Captain in the United States Air Force and served at Warner Robbins AFB in Georgia. Two years later he entered private pediatric practice in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Joel Curran’s first career in the practice of Pediatrics continued for thirty six years. In his spare time he enjoyed home redesign and remodeling and the repair and recycling of family objects. Designing and creating rugs and food presentation have been strong interests. After retirement Joel became a volunteer in a science enrichment program for 6th grade classes reconnecting with many of his former patients and restarted the study of piano after a 50 year lapse.

In 2007 Joel began to experiment with the use and arrangement of recyclable magazine and catalogue paper in geometric and multi-dimensional patterns. Joel’s children and grandchildren were impressed with his paper art (or so they said) and “commissioned pieces.” Other papers were introduced including art paper, Japanese handmade paper, and wallpaper samples. When work was actually purchased at a non-profit fundraising event Joel began to explore how his work might be displayed in a more professional setting. Exhibits have been at Museum Facsimiles in Pittsfield, MA, and currently at Concepts of Art and the WIT Galleryy in Lenox, MA.

Many years ago friends discovered that Joel’s middle name was Danforth. Subsequently he was often addressed (with a smile) as J Danforth, which is where the signature “JDANFORTH” originates for this new career.


I have been a recycler before recycling became fashionable. I am a keeper – rarely throw anything away. When family items were discarded or relegated to the basement in the “we’ll keep it because you never know when it might be needed” department I would try to plan a new use or refinish or remodel. I had a strong desire to “make things” and to save pieces which had connection, meaning and sentimental value in my life. Not every endeavor was successful. Probably my biggest failure was an attempt to create a lighting fixture with frozen juice containers.

Planning and design and attention to detail have been strong interests. For many years in my previous profession I was instrumental in developing quality improvement standards for my multispecialty physician group at a time when this focus in medicine was in its infancy. During those years I also had the opportunity to renovate an old home for office space, assist in the design of a new office space and be instrumental in home remodeling.

With no formal art training my move from interests in recycling, planning and designing together with a love of color seems like it has been a natural progression to my “Works with Paper.” Recognizing that artists perspectives and techniques change with time I have evolved through my wood collage period (created from scraps), large wool rug period (each required 6-7 years to complete), and now my paper period.

I pursue details of line, form and color to create a visual image for pleasure in the finished piece. A preconceived notion does not often exist which leads to improvisation as a strong element. With my love for music a crescendo/diminuendo effect is often reflected.

I collect and save paper where color and design sparks my interest. Most of my materials are obtained from magazines and catalogues (sometimes art papers) and cut in geometric patterns, rolled in cylinder shapes, or folded in triangles. After arranging and rearranging the pieces in color and pattern the end product may be entirely different from any original concept. Titles are often a perception and connection which evolves after completion. I view each work as a new venture.