March 2018 Forum

An Artist's Journey

Joy Heylen

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Joy Heylen has over the years been involved in creative works across three countries, Australia, New Zealand & South Africa, encompassing editorial works, photography, fine art & sculpture and recently winner of the coveted Swell Sculpture Grand Prize award for 2017.

MARCH SPEAKER Joy Heylen, has been involved in creative works across three countries, Australia, New Zealand & South Africa, encompassing editorial works, photography, fine art & sculpture and and recent winner 2017 Swell Sculpture Grand Prize.

Joy says, "Winning the 2017 Neumann Family Sculpture Award has been a fantastic opportunity for me in anchoring my Art practice as an Emerging and previously Outsider Artist.

This win has invigorated and catapulted me to the next stage of professional development and selfdiscovery as an artist. Since Swell 2017, many doors have opened for me professionally, one of which is the shift from an outsider artist to that of developing my professional capabilities. I have started a formal degree and have a future in Art much more defined.

As an Artist, my journey has encompassed a span of three countries. Born and bred in South Africa, living in New Zealand for seven years and now our final destination and
what we call home, Australia. I was lucky enough to be supported by my husband, which gave me the freedom to connect with the culture through immersing myself in the community. I volunteered for three years, in community projects, working with private and government agencies covering a range of social justice causes.

Financial hardship became the necessary driving force behind my Art practice, and over the last five years, I have focused all my energies on creating a Commercial creative business engaging cultural entrepreneur strategies. I am thankful to count local councils and significant retailing companies, as my patrons, whom without their support; would’ve formed a challenging journey.

While necessary, in the pursuit of financial gain, I lost a piece of my artist identity, but I have gained insight into a formative framework which bridges the gap between Fine Art principles and Creative entrepreneurship. For me, there is a point of difference, in creating for financial value and creating for emotional value.

Through starting university studies (Double major- Fine Art & Visual Culture), I have learnt to engage deep thinking through critical reasoning and reflection, whereas before studying, in my outsider art practice; I would’ve committed these measures superficially. The journey of self-discovery and has given me the opportunity to reflect and draw upon the critical reasoning in defining the next phase of my artist identity.

I have a strong sense of social justice, which has been lying dormant for a few years, and the next phase of my journey in self-discovery is to immerse myself in Indigenous culture through collaborative artworks. I look forward to meeting my peers, fellow sculptors and exploring your journeys in self-discovery and how it participates your Art practice and professional development