Revolution Evolution

It occurred to me today that we are as a country entering a time of revolution. And it’s likely to impact the rest of the world. Hopefully this will be a non-violent revolution but certainly akin to the 1960s when the collective consciousness took a gigantic leap not albeit without some struggle and sacrifice.

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Jill Joy - She's Come Undone - oil on canvas - 60x72"

Breakdown leads to break through when it’s handled consciously. It is now up to us as individuals to decide how we’re going to fight the current regime of fear and division. The deprivation of the freedom of one is the deprivation of the freedom of all. Make no mistake we are all connected. And if we allow limitations on the freedoms of Muslims, gays, immigrants or other vulnerable populations further incursion into freedom will occur even in groups that think themselves invulnerable.

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Do You Love Me - oil on canvas - 60x48"

How will you fight? And what will you do to insure a better future? We now have the opportunity to use this time of division and struggle to catapult our nation and our Collective Consciousness further than it was before this reality TV star came to power.

The Artist Purges Her Wound

I just got back from 10 days in Europe where I was immersed in the work of French American Artist, Niki de Saint Phalle. A friend of mine works for her foundation and among other things we went to the opening of a museum retrospective of her work at the Grand Palais in Paris and then her Tarot Sculpture Garden in Tuscany.

Les Trois Grâces, 1994

Niki de Saint Phalle – Les Trois Grâces, 1994

I can honestly say I am inspired by her. Not so much by the late work that made her famous (above), but more so by her early work and the process of her life, the progression of her art and the sacrifices she made. Her work crosses the trajectory from the purging of the darkness of early wounds to the reaching for something universal and joyful in her well known “Nana” sculptures.

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Early Bride Sculpture – Niki De Saint Phalle – La Femme Mariee

This photo of one of her brides is hard to appreciate if you don’t see it in person. It’s a collage of plastic spiders and babies and other disturbing things. A dark commentary on the limitations imposed on women when forced to uptake the role of wife and mother by conditioning rather than choice.

She was molested by her father as a child and much of her early work is purging the anger and sadness and sense of betrayal this caused her as well as divesting herself of society’s expectations of her as a woman to be a wife and mother. Some of her earliest work, the Shooting Paintings, express outrage against injustice of all sorts especially against the innocent.

Niki-de-Saint-Phalle_fusil

Niki-de-Saint-Phalle_fusil

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niki-de-saint-phalle-1961-links-saint-sebastien-or-portrait-of-my-lover-rechts-videostill-daddy-b

Why am I so taken with this woman’s story? It is the parallels that validate my own path as an artist that make is so powerful for me. I too have seen my work move from the dark, violent and personal to something purer, simpler and more universal or illuminated.

Jill Joy - Love and Betrayal - mixed media on canvas - 48x72" 2007

Jill Joy – Love and Betrayal – mixed media on canvas – 48×72″ – 2007

 I too have struck on simpler, purified work that seems to have more commercial viability.

Jill Joy - Gathering Storm - oil on canvas - 48x72 -2014

Jill Joy – Gathering Storm – oil on canvas – 48×72 – 2014

I too knew and released the confines of traditional marriage and family. I too have had an on again, off again lover and muse who I simply can not shake despite the best efforts and advice of my friends and therapist. I too have sacrificed my health and wealth to create art.

But perhaps more than all of that was my appreciation for her early work and how it caused me to appreciate mine. What I saw in the retrospective at Le Grand Palais was not only the accomplishment and appeal of the later work, but how much the humanity and the personal struggle of Niki’s early work spoke to me. It was like watching the progression from the human to the divine condition. It was the human condition that spoke to me, stayed with me, haunted me. And it seemed much of that early work is still in the possession of her foundation. Niki, perhaps more than I up to this point, understood its value and spent the money and effort to warehouse it, never discarding or destroying it.

Niki de Saint Phalle

Niki de Saint Phalle

Meanwhile I have been balking at storing my early work because it’s too confusing to market to art industry people as I try to make a name and a living for myself. It has felt like a weight on me, a burden, not just because of the physical space it takes up but because it represents old, now dead, released painful emotional experience. Stacks and stacks of canvases that chronicle my personal pain and grief as I released my marriage, my emotionally abusive relationships with my parents and of course my on again off again relationship which triggers all of that old stuff every time it ends.

Learning about Niki and her work made me appreciate myself. She validated my struggles as an artist and confirmed the courage it takes to give everything else up. She caused me to appreciate the journey from personal pain to universal illumination. Even at the end the beginning is present. We hold its hand as we walk into the light.

Jill Joy - Selfie at Niki de Saint Phalle's Tarot Garden in Tuscany

Jill Joy – Selfie at Niki de Saint Phalle’s Tarot Garden in Tuscany

Forgiveness – Art & Poetry

Jill Joy - Forgiveness - oil on canvas - 60x72 -2013

Jill Joy – Forgiveness – oil on canvas – 60×72″ – 2013 – Price on Request

It’s time
I think
I feel
to stop hating on my father
to forgive
the ways
he could not love me

It’s time
I think
I feel
to put this burden down
to accept
his limitations
renounce
any judgment
I have against myself
for the way
he treated me

It’s time
I think
I feel
to take back my power
my self esteem
to be whole
and not in need

© Jill Joy – Feb 2013

Jill Joy with Forgiveness - oil on canvas - 60x72 -2013

Jill Joy with Forgiveness – oil on canvas – 60×72″ -2013      Photo: Maggie Kam

Art Show & Open House – La Jolla CA – Wed 7/10 – 5:30pm

Over 20 of my paintings will be featured on Wednesday night. Please come out if you can!6604 la Jolla Home and Art Show Art 71013 150 dpi

Black Square #art

Cheers to you! I hope you are enjoying this day. It’s absolutely beautiful here in San Diego and I’m feeling blessed to live here. This is a recently completed piece – Black Square. It’s a little baby piece, 10×10″, completed, in a sense, as an afterthought with some leftover paint I had from a larger canvas. The more I looked at it though, the more I liked it. (read on….)

Jill Joy - Black Square - oil on canvas - 10x10 - 2013

Jill Joy – Black Square – oil on canvas – 10×10″ – 2013 – Pricing contact jill@jilljoy.com

I sometimes think what I do instinctively, without too much thought, is turns out to be my best work.

On a related note, I had a discussion not too long ago with an art gallery owner about the significance of leaving blank canvas in my work.

I find myself doing this, again, instinctively. But upon reflection I realized the significance of the symbolism of blank canvas for me. It is my sense that we are each an energetic, emotional, mental experience happening on a broader blank screen, or for me blank canvas. Some sort of emptiness or open space which we touch upon occasionally and which usually, when we do, brings a sense of peace or connectedness. Stillness. I’m spiritual by nature so for me this open space represents some kind of universal consciousness, but I don’t feel the need to define it too specifically.

Wave #art

Jill Joy - Wave - oil on canvas- 60x72" - 2012

Jill Joy – Wave – oil on canvas- 57×69″ – 2013

A wave.

has crashed through my life

and separated me

from what has tormented me

and sustained me.

I sit here in the silence

in the receding tide

Wondering.

what will become of me

© Jill Joy 2-4-13

Jill Joy - Wave Installation View - oil on canvas- 60x72"

Jill Joy – Wave Installation View – oil on canvas- 67×69″ – 2013

Coming soon to an art gallery near you…

I’m so pleased to announce that the Sparks Gallery, opening in the fall of 2013, will be exhibiting my work. The gallery is in the historic Gaslamp district of downtown San Diego and is currently under renovation.sparks-gallery-fisheye1

I met with the owner, Sonya Sparks, a couple of weeks ago when she came to my studio to view my art. She’s a thoughtful, intelligent person with a true love of art and artistic integrity.

This is a big leap for me and a very positive step in my journey as full-time, professional artist. Look for exhibition details in the months to come. Thanks to all of you who have supported me thus far!