Like most kids, Joy began to draw at an early age, and she took to it as well as many. Drawings of big lop-sided heads, later with teeth, occupied her formative years. Her earliest portraits were of celebrities from my childhood, including Cher and Flip Wilson, taken straight from the television screen. She also had an interest in teaching from the day she learned to read and write. Her first pupil was a small, shaggy black dog named Mitzi, who was her grandparent’s beloved pet.
In an attempt to share her knowledge with her (she believed in earnest that she too could learn to read and write with proper training) Joy inadvertently taught her a new trick; to shake. It wasn’t until several floundering attempts to pass her community college classes that she took an oil painting class one summer at someone’s suggestion. She had not given art any serious consideration, and certainly not as a major, until her success in that singular class. From then on she was hooked, and she was motivated to be successful in all of her classes each semester. One afternoon a recruiter was on campus signing up students to enroll at California State University, Sacramento (Sac State), so she signed up and was later accepted.
She went on to earn a BA in Studio Art from Sac State, and she attended classes at The School of the Art Institute, Chicago after getting her bachelor of arts degree. Following numerous teaching gigs, from working with the developmentally disabled to incarcerated youth offenders, and after some procrastination, she earned an MFA from Claremont Graduate University.
Joy chose to return to Sacramento after graduate school and was hired to teach studio and art appreciation courses at American River College (ARC) and shortly thereafter taught at Sierra College in Rocklin. Most recently she was hired at California State University, Sacramento, nearly 20 years since earning her BA on the same campus, and she continues to teach at ARC. She visits local art galleries regularly and tries to get out to the Bay Area galleries and museums as well. She also views work online and travel yearly outside of California to see art. She is involved in the local arts scene in various ways and she exhibits her work when she has the opportunity to do so. She has participated in several collaborative projects, and she has curated exhibits, and formally discussed her work in various educational settings. Although the appearance of he rwork continues to change and develop, there are several themes that recur in many of the paintings and drawings.
Generally, the human condition is her main interest; whether absorbed in contradiction and absurdity, or enveloped in violence, or entranced by domestic comforts. Specifically, the work is informed by the way she looks at, experience, and think about her environment, and those around her. She is also influenced, formally and conceptually, by many other artists, both living and dead, and she is affected by the sorts of things she reads, and even by the music, she listens to. She believes that this is true of many artists.
There are certain images and ideas that she is drawn to, that may carry certain associations, that she uses in her work, and whose meanings often change or reveal themselves after they’ve made an appearance. The meaning that she ascribes to her own work is an important element, but it is also unstable and occasionally transient. Sometimes she is only able to articulate my feelings and ideas about something she’s made, long after it’s been created.
And of course, once out in the world, the work is subject to interpretation by anyone who comes into contact with it. The themes that she is drawn to are absence (violence, death, post or pre-apocalyptic events), humor (absurdity), domesticity (occasionally idyllic; a place to explore sexuality and creativity, and also a place of violence and loss), as well as artist related themes (mentorship, appropriation, the gallery scene).
Through images of objects, and of figures, these themes are more or less revealed within the narratives presented in my work. In terms of subject matter, she thinks of her images as a sort of history painting, in a way, albeit a personal history.
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