Joyce Pommer is New York artist whose work is fun, refreshing and quite inventive http://www.joycepommer.com/. If you never get to see her work in the flesh, check out her website and brace yourself for a great time. What inspires her? Read our chat and find out…
“… I think it is more important that the person can connect to the art on some emotional level in whatever way makes it personal for them. It would be nice if they could feel the intuitiveness of works if it is there, but I think that comes more when they talk to the artist and hear about the process …”
MICHAEL: Hello Joyce, Your work is so lovely. First of all, I look at it and see lots of fragments. You seem to like to play around with pieces of things. True?
JOYCE: Hi Michael, Yes I do like to play around with fragments moving them around to relate to one another and create movement in the pieces. Using different materials like handmade papers, fabrics and color, I want to connect them in different spaces making them work together. I really like the element of surprise I sometimes get from painting over ribbons or paper and then removing them leaving behind something special. Mistakes are more great things that many times really work out well. The fragments or pieces seem to put down a path for me and I try my best to listen to them and follow where they want to go. My work has been intuitive for a long time so it can be challenging and great at the same time. I want the white space and the mystery of transparency with layers all to work. If I can keep the viewer’s eye connected and moving around, it’s a good thing.
MICHAEL: Given the fact that the average attention span these days is merely seconds, does that put paintings at a disadvantage compared to digital devices?
JOYCE: Yes and no. I think many people who are truly interested in art still spend the time looking at it (even though sometimes interrupted by those devices). I participated in an open studio and most visitors spent a good amount of time talking to me and asking about the works, materials and process. Digital devices have definitely changed the world and the way people view all of the arts whether music, paper books or online sites. I suppose it is somewhat of a disadvantage, but there is nothing like seeing a painting in the flesh.
MICHAEL: You mentioned earlier that you listen to your process and follow cues. How important do you think this is for people who look at art?
JOYCE: I think it is more important that the person can connect to the art on some emotional level in whatever way makes it personal for them. It would be nice if they could feel the intuitiveness of works if it is there, but I think that comes more when they talk to the artist and hear about the process. Sometimes the viewer is relating to color or movement in a painting without realizing anything about how the artist got there which also can be okay. It’s not terribly important for looking at art, but that information adds to the richness of a work.
MICHAEL: Movement is an important factor in your work as you've mentioned. How do you factor color in all of this?
JOYCE: Color is also hugely important for me - which color, dense or transparent is considered. I spent time a number of years ago concentrating on color to try to make it work, my paintings had been muddier and darker and I wanted to get some brilliant color into them. After that, I would cover the entire canvas pretty much with brighter color and then the last few years moved into the whiter more minimalist paintings with splashes of color. Now I am bringing more color back into the works. I like working with it and people seem to respond to be drawn in by it.
No matter what I place on the surface whether fabric, paper or paint, the color of it is always a consideration; should I leave it alone or change it - whichever feels right. As I want the materials to move around the space, I also want the colors to relate and move. It’s a challenge still to work with color and see what happens when certain colors are next to each other or call to one another across the canvas.
MICHAEL: How would you describe your relationship or connection with the art world/art market? Do you feel part of them or separate from them?
JOYCE: I feel more separate than a part of the art world lately. My relationship with it seems to be dwindling- I feel like I am distancing myself from it more and more. Sometimes I want to disconnect from it completely - I am not sure what it has become except acting like an ungrateful child. I find it more and more difficult to find places where I can exhibit and have the work seen. There are not enough alternative spaces willing to take a chance on showing work. Too much bad art out there being passed off as good and some really good artists are not getting opportunity and exposure.
It’s so much more superficial and about the money than ever. I understand the high cost of running galleries (I owned one for eight years myself) is part of it. People still need to be educated about art including students studying art. The art world has changed, into what I am not sure, but I am not feeling I fit into it these days. My work has never been about being popular or trendy and am finding less and less of an audience for it.
MICHAEL: Why not join forces with a group of savvy artists and start a new gallery?
JOYCE: I have considered that - I think taking control of some part of the situation is a way to go. What deters me is the money, time and energy involved in putting that together with the right artists. Most artists I know have little money to put out. We mostly have other jobs part or full time, and the biggest obstacle is New York City rents which are almost untouchable these days for small operations looking for a good space - even in the boroughs.
MICHAEL: Sure. Still, I can't help but feel that we're on the verge of something new here ... a new model to sell art that works for everyone involved in a new way. Do you feel that the Internet has helped you at all?
JOYCE: I hope so - a new model would be so welcome. The internet has helped me somewhat in getting more exposure, although it has not brought too much in exhibition offers and sales. Very few new people have found me through the internet and most of the sites are so crowded with lots of art work. I have found it works best so far just as a resource for me to direct people to.
MICHAEL: And so, we live in a world that's often oblivious to contemporary art, there are probably more struggling artists alive today than ever and the top end of the art world/art market tends to be mostly interested in art as commodities ... What's the point of all of this Joyce? Oh yeah, this is also my last question! LOL.
JOYCE: You summed that up nicely. I think we can’t live without art and never should have to no matter how the art world is acting. There are so many layers to it. As an artist, there are many feelings of rejection, inadequacies, loneliness, envy and an array of other things. However, there is nothing like being in the studio and creating something. Creativity is good for the soul no matter whose soul it is - the artist or the viewer/collector. It makes one feel better, exposes to new ideas and widens the horizons. One of my collectors has my painting in her home and says when she gets up every morning, it’s really nice to see it and it gives her energy for the day. That’s the point I guess - that we can have an impact on our lives and those of others through art. I know no matter how much the art world annoys me, I can never give it up and am sure many other artists feel the same.
MICHAEL: Absolutely. Thanks Joyce. I’ve enjoyed our chat.
JOYCE: It has been a pleasure Michael. Thanks again for the opportunity.
Check out Joyce Pommer at http://www.joycepommer.com/.