Joy Ivill – Artist Interview

Joy’s works at times are amusing but simultaneously emanating an intensely emotional and vulnerable side. Her works raw openness, immediacy, and sexually provocative and witty attitude fascinate the viewer. She reveals intimate details of her life in a powerful and confronting way.

Homesick, a multi-disciplinary and recent body of work incorporates embroidery, appliqué and painting to tell Joy’s stories. She pairs unexpected images and humorous text and re-imagines her needlework. Her approach to portraiture, as an art genre, is somewhat unconventional as she explores the potential for modern portraiture to encapsulate the biographical and autobiographical context of the artist.

 Joy’s work she states “is a form of confessional art”. She celebrates the power of catharsis and the psychological experience of confessing childhood stories through art making. In depicting these childhood experiences, Joy examines the affect they have on adult development and the importance of being able to express lessons learned. Joy is influenced and inspired by artists such as Louise Bourgeois and Tracey Emin.

Joy’s work is reflected through common themes from both artists. Bourgeois explores a variety of themes such as the family, sexuality and the body. Emin’s work is autobiographical where her subject matter emulates her traumas and triumphs. Her works are confessional acts where she records and performs her life stories and sexual experiences. This is much like Joy’s works where they project events in her life that have profoundly impacted on her decision making and the consequences from that.

Bourgeois’ works can also be seen as autobiographical as she draws works from her childhood experiences, yet affirms that it is not necessarily important to understand that in her works. She often talked about her childhood experiences and how they deeply affected her. Joy also makes the imperative point that her works transcend a deeper meaning than just pretty embroideries, they tell her story, the pain, the love, the absurd and the past.

Joy finds art making a therapeutic process like Bourgeois and Emin. They transform their experiences into a highly personal visual language through the use of imagery, beauty, objects and colour. The interplay between innocence and sex is evident and reshapes the female image.  

Joy Ivill has spent most of life in Sydney and practicing her art making every day. Last year she attended artist residences across the UK, Paris, Berlin, Venice and France, and most recently Beijing. Joy lives and works in Sydney.