joel ivan thomas


Vacation (2020)

For Iconic Mirage.

What version of ourselves are we showing the world?

The art and music collective, Iconic Mirage, asked Joel to exhibit his work 'Vacation' in Berlin's Tipsy Bear.

'Vacation' sits somewhere between a photo slideshow and a film, showing raw autobiographical images and videos taken on a variety of mediums and juxtaposed with ironic cutting and more abstract works.

With this work, Joel wanted to ask why we capture particular experiences and share them with those around us. What moments of our lives do we try to immortalise and why? Are we curating our lives as content to form it into a dairy we can look back on? Or are we simply sharing it as an expression of identity? Are our vacation photos really who we are?


As part of Dream World.

'HAVE YOU BEEN HERE BEFORE?' is an art film shot on VHS which examines the way our memory, subconscious, and dreams affect our every day interactions and thought processes.

This film was made and installed as a part of Berlin's Dream World, a narrative-driven experiment in a surreal house, that explores the transformational power of your most intimate dreams..

Open 14.12.2019 - 27.12.2019


(Covered by Der Tagesspiegel and Ausser Gerwöhnlich Berlin)

Schmutz Presents: Joel I Thomas solo exhibition (2019)

In May, 2019, Joel's works showed in Das Giftraum, where he launched his new zine: Take photos in your dreams and bring them back with you.

This included a live ambient set by NZ musician indi, and after party tunes by the Schmutz lads.

As part of this event, Joel's work was featured on the front page of Schmutz.

Backhome. (2018)

In a globalised society where change is constant our ideas of home are often liminal and transitory. How can we establish our own identity in spaces that are endlessly moving?Backhome. is a collection of autobiographical still photography and moving image works by Iara Gelpi, Bridget McCarthy, and Joel I Thomas.

At Lowtide from June 21-28, 2018.



notable publication

Goth Picnic on HART MAGAZINE

A photoshoot about the every day presentation of subculture, shot with the help of Fifteen Minutes Agency and published by Hart Magazine.

Philisha Kay
Ryan Ying

Art direction and styling:
Lisa Eisert

Hair and makeup:
Alex Costa


CRAFT-SOURCE is an online platform and series of interviews with New Zealand creatives, living locally and abroad.

In this interview, Joel discussed his journey and inspiration behind his photography work.

Inside Auckland’s Growing Chinese Music and Arts Subculture

Auckland's Chinese creative communities are thriving, working together to make great art, music, and establish a sense of community. VICE NZ sent Joel to a night at The Thirsty Dog Tavern to write about and photograph this.

Auckland Creatives in a Housing Crisis

In a housing crisis where people are struggling to find homes without dampness and mould, VICE NZ got Joel to visit Auckland creatives and artists to see how they survive.

Laneway Festival 2018

Joel went to Auckland's annual Laneway music festival for VICE NZ to capture the crowd, acts, and atmosphere in an hour by hour photo-essay.

The last night of the Kings Arms

The Kings Arms Tavern was an Auckland institution in music, a legendary venue with a graffitied toilets and a garden, the bar housed some of the greatest acts ever to play in New Zealand. Joel, who also worked there as a bartender, photographed the last night for The Spinoff.


some further work

Using Format