Joseph Shorter, Tampa Member Since December 2007 Artist Statement I was born on August 1, 1970, in Maricopa County in Phoenix, Arizona to Joseph William Shorter II and Laura Hill Shorter. When I was only one year old, my family packed up everything and moved across the country to Greensboro, North Carolina, where our perfect American family seemed to take root. Soon after, however, we moved to Louisville, Kentucky, because of my father’s job relocation, and our paradise was then interrupted by the arrival of five brothers and sisters previously unknown to my sister and me. It was then that my real education in life began. A broken home and a seared childhood would be my reality. My mom and dad divorced when I was ten, and the struggle continued from there. I graduated from Southside High School, but not before fathering my own son, Brandon, when I was seventeen. Between work and high school, my grades sank low enough to encourage me to enter the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves in the fall of 1988. After my return from boot camp and Military Occupational Specialty training school, I returned home with few options. I then scrounged out a living working at McDonald’s and living with my mom until I decided that a grown man should be self-sufficient. This revelation earned me a six-month homeless stint before my pride allowed me to accept the extended hand of my friend David Cross, who invited me to be his roommate along with another friend, Jeff Horton. Eventually, I ran my own cleaning business until I was able to increase my participation in the military to full-time service, which I continued for nine years. During this period, I married my first wife, Shawn Carter, and we had a child, Jasmine Shorter, on December 7, 1996. I currently live in Tampa, Florida, where I am a software developer and am married to my best friend Constance S. Blaize-Shorter.