Ever since he looked at arrowheads with his father as a small child Joe Pachak has been interested in rock art. Now Joe confidently strides over sandstone and offers detailed descriptions of complex panels. Differentiated primarily by the pottery shards and petroglyphs associated with the site there are four different historic groups of people that inhabited the area around Bluff, UT: Basketmakers and Pueblo 1, 2, and 3. The sites display different styles but with reoccurring motifs of concentric circles, spirals, serpentine lines and anthropomorphs. Each symbol has an important meaning that can help modern viewers learn about these ancient cultures. As an artist, Joe helps document rock art sites around the Southwest by making precise illustrations of the panels and artifacts. While visitors often feel like they are in the middle of nowhere, Joe is adamant that “the prehistoric people lived there and that was their home and it was not in the middle of nowhere.”
Joe is also involved in the Bluff Arts Festival, organizing events and telling stories. Each year he makes a large sculpture to burn on winter solstice and this year he is in the process of constructing two immense great blue herons.
By Willa Johnson