Joseph's art is synthesis of many influences, both artistic and personal. His maternal grandparents and great uncle's experience of hiding, surviving, and persevering during and after the Holocaust, largely defines that side’s history. Joseph's grandmother, great uncle, and their parents hid in a hole in the ground; his grandfather lived practically orphaned and on the run during the Holocaust, surviving on his wits. Joseph's paternal great grandparents fled pogroms in Russia, eventually settling in the U.S., where their son would go on to become a successful surgeon. It was only after changing his last name from Weinberg to the very anglo Warren that he was admitted to medical schools by the antisemitic admissions committees who so often obstructed paths forward for young and talented American Jews. The painful and complex family dynamics, betrayals, evasion, and trauma that Joseph's forbearers experienced are too intimate, compromising, and heavy to recount here, though they deeply influence his work.
Joseph's concern with family history and personal identity, the chasm between his relatively stable, privileged upbringing and the unimaginably horrific experiences of his ancestors, his preoccupation with geopolitics, technology, individual and social psychology, the inheritance of trauma, and the phenomenon of diaspora—both the Jewish diaspora and diasporas in general—all coalesce in Joseph's work. Among those interests is a deep concern with the experience of loneliness, distance, and the concept of the self-other and us-them dichotomies.
Joseph seeks a balance between the autobiographical and the universal, between realism and various representations of reality, whether they be digital, analogue, in paint, animation, maps, photos, or through other media. Working across digital media and traditional fine arts materials and techniques—painting and drawing—is not just a passion for Joseph, it is conceptually integral to his work. In an age of expanding and shrinking distances, interpersonally and internationally, portraiture is an excellent means to explore the concept of identity and our paradoxically increasing connectedness to and disconnectedness from one another. Moreover, the act of painting has poetic significance in Joseph's work, specifically in the Google Street View series. Translating screenshots of people captured in Google Street View—many of whom come from his maternal grandmother’s birth town in Poland—into portraits, is an effort to humanize them, to shift the focus to them as individuals; it is a desperate, heartfelt, and possibly futile attempt to reach out and make contact, almost physical contact through the paint brush, with distant strangers indiscriminately captured in Google’s global mapping platform, used by Google’s customers themselves, both removed from and connected to each other, and very possibly captured within the Street View Program itself.