Joy Gray - Sculptures

About Joy Gray

When did you start taking an interest in art?

Even though I started to study art as a mature student it was always a part of my life. My mother was always creative, from oil painting to Hungarian egg painting as well as the more practical toy and clothes making, but it was during my mid teens when I started visiting the art exhibitions in the Ulster museum and discovering contemporary art that really sparked my passion.

What course have you studied or currently studying?

I have been fortunate enough to have spent a fantastic couple of years at S.E.R.C in Bangor studying Art & Design; specifically, the Foundation Diploma in Art & Design. These two years were a great foundation for leading on to complete a BA Hons Fine & Applied Art at Ulster University.

Who or what inspires your art?

A few of the artists that I have inspired me have been Louise Bourgeois, Anselm Kiefer, Alice Maher, Dorothy Cross and Maud Cotter. Initially I was drawn to urban birds, especially crows, as I admire their ability to survive the harsh urban environment. I found that same quality in the rural windswept trees, that are bent but not broken and continue to survive despite the harsh winds. Recently I have noticed a common thread that runs through all my work - hopes and fears.

What do you hope people take from your work?

The artwork which has inspired and touched me the most has been the artwork that has had an immediate, emotional connection with me. Most often these artworks have been made in response to deeply personal feelings or experiences. These may be different to my own feelings or experiences but somehow the personal and emotional nature of these artworks can feel empathetic and reassuring. I hope that my work can connect with someone in a similar way.

Do you have any other interests?

I have found walking with my dog is an essential part of making art. This is when ideas come to me and sometimes the only place that I can find solutions to the practical problems of making certain pieces.

What is your favourite memory of your time at Ulster University?

Being in that environment, to see the amazing art being created. To experience the huge variety of art and just as importantly, the multitude approaches artists have to making work. It has taught me there is no wrong way as you listen to your own voice and do what feels right for you.

What is next for you creatively?

Within my constant themes of crows, trees and nests, I have been working more instinctively. Through this approach, fences and support posts have been creeping into my scenes with trees, as well as domestic elements. I will also continue to make crows until I make them black enough, proud enough and wild enough.

Connect with Joy

Joy Gray - Sculptures

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Clare Nicholl - Ceramics

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