Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bright Spot(light) on Joyce Hankins of MoonShadow Press

Last month, I had the honor of sitting down and talking with St. Louis artist Joyce Hankins from MoonShadow Press. Every time we talk, Joyce draws me in with her creativity, intuition, thoughtfulness, and ability to describe her point of view.
Hear what she had to share about her craft and feast your eyes on her thoughtful (and gorgeous!) pieces below.
Photo credit: MoonShadow Press

1.) There are a lot of new things in your life right now, lots of endings and beginnings, what's going on? 
 The main ending is that I just graduated from college! I made it! I learned a lot at Wash.
U. and I have been antsy to get out in the world and put it all to use. So, as far as beginnings,
being a “non-student” artist is a big one. Out of that has come my shop, MoonShadow Press.
Another super exciting thing going on is that I am getting married in August!

2.) Your Etsy shop, Moonshadow Press is an exciting development. How are you liking Etsy? 
 Etsy has been great! I really wanted to start a business where I could make and sell
artwork and Etsy provides a fantastic platform to do so. It is affordable as a seller and has such a
large community around it that there is a lot of potential and opportunity to sell work. It is also
inspiring to see so many other wonderful shops and creatives flourishing.
Photo credit: MoonShadow Press


3.) What is your dream for your shop? 
 Adding little bits of light and hope to people’s lives is the driving force behind my work.
Currently I spend three days a week in studio making artwork, building an online presence, and
doing market research. The other two days I work a part time job as a fine art consultant at my
church. Right now my hope is that MoonShadow Press will become a full time gig. I’m not sure
where it will go or end up, but this is a good place to start!

4.) What art form do you lose yourself in? 
Recently I have spent a lot of time making art about accumulation. I really enjoy repetitive, tedious processes that let my mind wander. I think that is why I love printmaking so much. Things like carving woodblocks or using tiny rollers for monoprints is relaxing and re-energizing to me.
Photo credit: MoonShadow Press


5.) What advice would you give to artists who are just starting out? 
 Considering I am an artists just starting out, I’m not sure how qualified I am to answer. I
will say that for me, I constantly have to fight feelings of discouragement and fear that I won’t
succeed. I am determined to fight the negative thoughts I have though because I know I will
never get anywhere if I at least don’t try. Trying to stay focused on one day at a time is also
something I try to do.

6.) How would you describe your aesthetic? 
I would call my aesthetic Poetic Minimalism. Minimalism is a theory of art which pares
down and reduces imagery to find its most simple form, or essence. I often use geometric and
linear forms, as well as muted color schemes. I also enjoy integrating language and text as well.
Some of my new work for MoonShadow Press is more colorful, but I like keeping the imagery
simple, which relates to a type of visual poetry.

Photo credit: MoonShadow Press

7.) Showing your creations/ creative process to the world can be a vulnerable thing-how does that look for you?
 I have definitely had to grow into being vulnerable, because you are right, art making is
extremely personal. To be honest, I am still learning how to confidently and graciously put my
work out in the world. In school we were told to separate ourselves from our work so that we
didn't take criticism personally. However, I don’t think that works. In fact, I think it does a
disservice to the work. If I spend hours of energy and pour myself into a piece, there is no way I
can then look at it subjectively. All of the emotion that was used to make it alive would turn cold
and distant. Instead, it seems like the lesson to learn is how to control where you find your
identity. If I only find personal value in my art, then criticism of any kind is heart-wrenching.
However, if I remember that I am more than just an artist, then criticism and rejection are not as
threatening. It is really hard though and I constantly have to look to God to remind me of those
things.
Photo credit: MoonShadow Press



8.) What do you do to revive your creative spirit?
 I love it when people ask me this because thinking about my inspiration makes me feel all
bubbly and excited inside! I learned a lot about how to revive my creativity while studying
abroad in Florence, Italy. My professors there told us all the time to “follow your muse” and “go
take a walk” when we didn't know what we wanted to do or were feeling stuck. Those walks and
allowing myself to do what I wanted without feeling stupid or guilty were important. I learned
that there is always something interesting to see when you look for it and that it is ok if your
ideas don’t always work out. Now, when I need inspiration I like to get out of studio and change
scenery. My favorite places to go are the Missouri Botanical Gardens and the St. Louis Art
Museum. I also keep my studio full of things I love. My favorite books are close by, my favorite
pictures and art are pinned up on a bulletin board, and the supplies I like to use the most are
within reach. This creates an encouraging working environment that allows me to easily recharge
or brainstorm.

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Looking for more of Joyce? Let me help you.

Her shop is here on Etsy.

Also, Joyce is the featured artist at the upcoming RAW artists' show in August 21st. Tickets are on sale now.


**All images have been posted with written permission by Joyce Hankins of MoonShadow Press.