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Getting to Know Candy Joyce

As some of you may know, local artist, Candy Joyce, worked in partnership with us for our physical distancing signage over the past couple of months to help encourage customers to adhere to government guidelines. For those that don’t know Candy, we thought we would introduce you with a short interview about art, lockdown and her advice for her younger self…

1. So, tell us a bit about yourself…who is Candy Joyce and what do you do?

I’m a freelance designer and illustrator. You can see some of my work at https://www.instagram.com/flippingzombies/

I love what I do because from day to day I could be working on anything from fabric design, business logos, wall murals, album covers, children’s books, t-shirt designs, event posters and more. I always love connecting with clients and realising their ideas visually.

Outside of my own work, I would love to help change Chelmsford into a creative hub. I am a trustee for Chelmsford Festival, a founder of Chelmsford Creative Collective and the owner of Chelmsford Window Gallery.

2. What or who inspired you to become an artist?

I have an impulse to create.  It’s so nice to wake up in the morning with a sense of excitement for my current project and I’ve not gotten that feeling from any other job that I’ve done.

3. What are you currently working on?

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 a lot of the freelance work that I was doing has dried up. However, I always have a lot of ideas for personal projects and have had the time to work on those. I love trying out new techniques and materials.

Currently on the workbench:

  • I have just finished mosaicking my garden and am looking for more surfaces to cover in tiles!
  • I recently got given some scrap wood and have discovered a love for creating sculptural pieces.
  • I am organising the art events for the upcoming Heritage Open Days (11th – 20th September)
  • I have recently discovered the joys of oil painting and am creating a portrait a week for the collaborative portrait project
  • I’m working on a series of acrylic glitch paintings which are challenging and interesting.

4. It’s been an interesting few months, to say the least! How has COVID-19 affected you either personally or professionally?

I founded Chelmsford Creative Collective in January 2018. I had recently moved to a new city and wanted to find a community of fellow creatives. I established a few connections and created an informal group for artists, musicians, theatre people, makers, film people and all the rest! We now have around 1000 members and a very active Facebook group. We usually meet once a month in a local pub. Together we explore ideas, create collaborations, promote events and support each other in creative businesses and hobbies.

During lockdown, I instigated a new project for members of the Chelmsford Creative Collective; the collaborative portrait project. I’ve always been jealous of the musicians’ experience of being able to collaborate and jam with others. The collaborative portrait project was born of this desire to ‘jam’ with other artists.

All levels and styles of artist are welcome to join in, so far we’ve had drawings, paintings, digital art, fabric art, collage, a portrait made from vegetables and one made from Lego! A new subject is chosen every week, we then have a week to create a portrait from a source image. Once all the portraits are complete I create mash-ups of the portraits. We have had some amazing, intriguing and weird results from the mash-ups and I always look forward to getting all the portraits together and seeing how other artists have interpreted the subject.

CCC was already a great community but this project showed me that there are new ways in which artists can collaborate, even when we can’t physically get together.

5. If there was one thing you could tell your younger self what would it be?

I would tell myself to focus on what I really want and not to worry about the rest. I also know I was a stubborn teenager and probably wouldn’t have listened to my own advice!

6. Do you have any advice for young aspiring artists of the future?

Take every opportunity that interests you, even if you don’t know what you are doing. It’s better to say yes to something, even if it seems scary, you can figure it out as you go along. Most of the best artists that I have befriended in my life have agreed that we are all winging it!

7. What are your hopes and dreams at the moment?

I run a local art gallery in Chelmsford called Window Gallery. The Window Gallery is named because our doors never open to the public. Instead, all the art is displayed in the window. It was set up in June 2018 to give artists a space to display their work. Although things have been put on pause recently I usually host a new exhibition of local art every month and have featured over 500 artworks from over 100 artists including musicians exhibitions, skateboard art exhibition, painting, sculpture, jewellery, photography and much more. During Lockdown, these exhibitions have moved online.

My dream would be to turn this concept into an open gallery, cafe and shop space. All the furniture, furnishings, art, food, drink and music would be sourced from local makers and it would also function as a venue for small gigs, workshops and art classes. For more information, please see: https://www.windowgallery.org/