Tramore studio: Artist Anoushka Joyce
I’M with Tramore artist Anoushka Joyce and the sun is flooding through her tiny work-studio. We’re surrounded by canvasses that are largely works in progress. The smell of oils, the splatters of paint and brushes envelope us as we sit and explore Anoushka’s journey as an artist.
All artists will tell you that their first steps on the painting path began with the encouragement and inspiration of an early teacher/mentor. “Stella Maris teacher Sinéad Driver was my inspiration… she was always so encouraging… so dynamic… and just filled me with the confidence to explore my work as an artist.”
Later Michael Byrne in the WIT Art School, where Anoushka took a degree in Art specialising in arts and ceramics, played a significant role in her development.
‘She kick-started her career with a commission for a map of Mount Congreve’
Her father Gerry Joyce, who is also an artist, is a huge influence on this painter. Gerry’s dedication to his craft, his example of hard work, of chasing down that elusive moment in time, his search for perfection and his perseverance is just the ticket for any artist seeking a mentor.
“He loved Monet, Kenneth Webb and Connemara and we’ve got stacks of photos from those sources that always inspired us. And I can see influences of his work in mine.” She’s clearly proud of their connection.
The Tramore artist’s brown expressive eyes light up when she mentions her time in the Crawford School of Art where she completed another degree in ceramics and life-sketching. “Lecturer Megan Eustace was inspirational and challenging… constantly demanding new work… battering boundaries… and finding new ways of expression.”
And then the despair of finding a job… an income… a way to live… because there aren’t too many career-paths other than teaching available to a jobbing artist. And you’ve gotta make a crust. She got a job designing kitchens in Dungarvan that she enjoyed but the crash put an end to all that.
“I began working part-time in the box-office at the Theatre Royal and, with that disbelieving look of the experience of the way time telescopes into a moment, I realised that I had spent 10 happy years there as Box Office Manager. The good thing was that I was working with creative people who always encouraged my work as a painter and all the staff like Mary Boland, Dee Jordan, John Fitzpatrick and Dermot Quinn was very supportive when I decided to make that break and follow my dream.”
The hardest part for artists is conquering that imposter feeling – that feeling when you tell someone that “you’re an artist and they look at you like it’s not a real job” and with a limited career path, it’s not easy.
Joyce’s work is flourishing now and she’s past that wall of uncertainty. She kick-started her career with a commission for a map of Mount Congreve that took months of walking and photographing for a project that needed to be colourful and accurate. She followed that up with another commission from Waterford Treasures to sketch a map of Waterford for children. “It was tricky,” observed Anoushka “it needed to be bright, vibrant and set tasks.” There are art workshops for kids and senior citizens in the autumn outside the theatre that she will also be involved with.
But the canvass is what drives Anoushka on. “I love to paint,” she enthuses “seascapes and seaweed. It’s the changing colours, textures, movement that comes with tides and changing light. The lockdown brought me back to my childhood roots… the Guillamene, Newtown Cove, the Copper Coast, the Pier, the Ladies Slip, Gallwey’s Hill.”
And she’s got all the canvasses to show for the lockdown period. She paints for six hours every day and has plans for a full exhibition next year.
“It’s hard work but I’ve learned a lot from my time in the theatre… promoting… not being shy about my work… being confident in what I do as an artist.” Covid was a good period for this Tramore artist – productive, creative and self-affirming. Let’s face it: it isn’t easy to be an artist and exhibit. It takes courage. Conquering self-doubt is the hardest part of all because not everyone will like what you paint.
But… oh that magical feeling when someone buys a painting, hangs it in their own home and enjoys it… well… somehow that just makes it all worthwhile.
I have a feeling that people will be hanging Anoushka Joyce’s work for many years to come.