Joyce Yu-Jean Lee hails from Dallas, Texas and earned a MFA from the Mt. Royal School of Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2010 and a BA in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002. Before art school, Joyce worked as the Programming & Art Director for the non-profit arts organization, International Arts Movement in New York, NY. She also has a professional background as a media strategist in advertising. Joyce creates “projection paintings” that reframe the depictions of painterly and cinematic light through a synthesis of drawing, performance and architectural video installation. Figures journey through utopic and dystopic spaces that evoke contradictions across culture and time.
Joyce was a Harvey Fellow from 2008 – 2010 and a recipient of a full fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center in 2010. She has shown at the Heidi Cho Gallery in Chelsea, Tower 49 in mid-town Manhattan and U.S. Army Base galleries around the U.S. and in Germany. She resides with her turtle Biddy and enjoys cruising around “Charm City” Baltimore on her 1979 Puch moped.
To see more of Joyce’s work, please visit www.jyjlee.com
Nothing could have prepared me adequately for my summer at Blue Sky Project. I was told Blue Sky is not a “summer camp” nor “community arts” nor “art education,” and I can confirm that this program defies any known categories. It is truly pioneering a groundbreaking model of artistic creation and collaboration.
Working with the youth was hands-down the best part of Blue Sky. I absolutely adored my group, democratically named “Team EVOL” (“love” spelled backwards, short for EVOLution and our acronym for Extra Virgin Olive Oil). My team comprised of a super helpful student artist, Christina Zuercher and dazzling youth: Abigail Riffle, A.C. Taylor, Brianna Manco, Chanel Gillespie-McFarland, David Rodriguez, Emily Coughlin, Keionna Seabrook, Madison Morrow, and Victoria Postway. Team EVOL bonded quickly through brainstorming exercises, T-shirt making, green-screen filming, stop motion animation, and many hours of mutual sharing of new art, music and film.
As an artist used to a relatively solitary practice, I was nerve-wracked yet also exhilarated as I relinquished all control over the project theme to the youth. Spawned by their opinions of contemporary government, the youth engaged in rich debate and together decided to make our project about the topic of power and authority. “rEvolution: We the Light” referenced Francisco Goya’s historical painting, “Third of May 1808” and was our idealized presentation of how communities can affect power structures. I do not typically gravitate towards making politically based art, but the youth surprised and inspired me with their sensitive insights about the social condition of the world around them. Our discussions ranged from popular teen culture to social propaganda, parallels on America now with the historical fall of the Roman Empire, and factory-farmed food!
Blue Sky also provided me the opportunity to produce experimental work with other resident artists. I relished working in tandem with performance artist Ari Tabei and musician Shaw Pong Liu to make video in a new context at the Dayton Art Institute. I look forward to working this way with fellow artists in the future! Additionally, the alternative space for our final exhibition at the Armory pushed me to learn more construction skills as well as flex and adapt my working process and approach to architectural installation. I encountered problems working in a group setting that taught me more about how to navigate creative boundaries while maintaining artistic integrity and respect for others. I was delighted to discover the thriving local art scene in Dayton and grateful for the wonderfully supportive and nurturing staff and board at Blue Sky Project.
I believe Blue Sky is not a residency for the faint of heart! It is a residency well suited for artists seeking to try new ways of working closely with others. It is a residency for artists who love the fresh minds and vivacious energy of teens. Blue Sky is a residency that challenged me personally and creatively and ultimately proved a worthwhile growing experience at this stage of my art endeavors.