Land That I Love

Meet Carson Valley’s Artists: Joe Milazzo

In recognition of the Carson Valley Arts Council and the upcoming 2021 Art Studio Tour, we have selected a few outstanding artists to highlight. Each has a particular passion for Carson Valley and all the beauty, inspiration, culture, and history it represents.

Joe Milazzo attended Pasadena City College and Art Center College of Design, drawn to a fundamental medium: pen and ink. His delicate yet intricate lines and his attention to detail make him a sought-after artist, collected internationally for commissions of prominent figures for public and private collectors alike. Even President Ronald Reagan and former First Lady, Nancy Reagan, have collected his artwork!

Joe considers his ability a God-given talent and as such, does not take his skill for granted.  “It is a blessing and a privilege to be able to render images and give the glory to God.” Recently, Joe has added charcoal drawing to his resume which allows him to create much larger scale drawings while keeping the same technique.

Why Carson Valley

Joe has been coming up to the area since he was a boy. As he traveled to Lake Tahoe for family vacations, he would look out the window at the Carson Valley and wonder what it would be like to live here, tucked in by working ranches and watched over by the mighty Jobs Peak. “I guess it made an impression on me,” he says. When his cousin moved to Carson Valley, he asked the question of Joe: why not sell your house and move up here? As Joe puts it, “I didn’t have an excuse not to, except for my lovely bride still had a full-time job. Well, I guess the good Lord took care of that because in three years she had to close the preschool, put the house up for sale and we moved last year. Can’t think of anywhere else we’d like to be.”

We are thrilled he did. Joe’s incredible detail and depth to his artwork breath the western heritage that Carson Valley was founded on. He says he also has a special view out of his window of Jobs Peak, the same peak he reveled at in his childhood. In fact, he just finished a charcoal piece with Jobs in the background, done on a 19″x 30″ piece of birch wood:

When asked what his favorite piece is, Joe had a unique answer and said that his favorite piece is his next one, which puts things into perspective for him. “Most of the pieces I finish, I give it a once over, then give it a thumbs up and onto the next one. They all have a certain amount of satisfaction when I finish a piece, but I don’t have any ties to them. Can’t say that about my lovely bride though. There are two pieces in the house which are permanent: a drawing of a henhouse with hens walking around doing what hens do, and a portrait of our three kids,” he says.


Milazzo joined the prestigious list of artists who have rendered the poster for Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days Fiesta and Rodeo for the years 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2011.

Additional honors include: ANLS- Best of show; Santa Ynez; CA-Vaquero Artist of the year, San Dimas; CA – Festival of Western Art-Festival Choice Award and in most recently; holds gold, silver and bronze medals; Santa Barbara Art Walk- 2nd Place Overall; Santa Barbara, CA-Old Spanish Days Rodeo Program Cover; San Dimas, CA- San Dimas Rodeo Poster; Dublin, CA-California Cowboy Gathering & Ranch Rodeo poster; Monterey, CA-Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Art Show poster; Santa Barbara, CA-Young American Foundation-Commission; Santa Ynez, CA -San Lucas Cowhorse Classic poster.

Joe will be one of the twenty-four artists featured in the 2021 Art Studio Tour on October 8th-10th. He is also part of the Sierra Nevada Invitational Art Show and Sale, taking place October 23rd-24th from 10am- 3pm at the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center.

Be sure to check out more of Joe’s amazing on his website peruse some samples below.

Get Your FREE Travel Planner

Start planning your adventure with our free, full-color guide featuring helpful information, events, and attractions throughout Carson Valley.