Joseph Drapell was born in Humpolec, Germany in 1940. The town later became part of the Soviet Union.
Darpell immigrated to Halifax in 1966. He lived on an island in the Georgian Bay which inspired much of his work.
Between 1968 and 1970, Darpell studied under various visiting artists and lecturers at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. He began to develop his compression technique in response to the paintings of Morris Louis.
Darpell settled in Toronto in 1970.
While walking the streets of New York with some of his rolled paintings, Drapell was discovered by the Robert Elkon Gallery on Madison Avenue. He had three exhibitions there, as well as several in Toronto. He was then discovered by Jared Sable of the Dunkelman Gallery. His works are abstract, he uses bold colours and lines.
He is a member of The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.
Joseph divides his time between Toronto and the Georgian Bay, Lake Huron.