We had the good fortune of connecting with Joy Ray and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joy, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Every new work of art is an opportunity for risk. Do I try something new, or stay with familiar materials and techniques? My work involves sewing/textiles—it can take a lot of time to create something. I have to resist the urge to be cautious. I have to be willing to try things—to cut something up or paint over it—and put aside concerns about ‘ruining it.’ Not everything works out, but even ‘failed’ experiments can sometimes lead to great discoveries. I believe in taking this same approach to most things in life. I’ll try just about anything once. Will I do it again? That depends on how it went the first time. Take risks, but be smart about it. Stay lucid. Try to learn from mistakes.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve taken a long and winding path to art, with detours through indie rock and fiction writing. Along the way, I’ve picked up a few guiding principles: – The most interesting thing any artist can do is be as true to their own strange and idiosyncratic vision as possible. Don’t bend to the world. Let the world come to you. – Everything good in life comes from connections with other people. – This isn’t a competition; the success of your friends is your own success. – Ask for advice. Stay curious. Pay attention. Try new things. – When in doubt, make more art!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My perfect itinerary would include a morning hike in Griffith Park, chilaquiles at Tacos Delta, a mad dash through galleries and museums, dinner in Koreatown, and a bar crawl with stops at the Tiki-Ti, Ye Rustic Inn and the Red Lion.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I owe a lot to the amazing people I’ve met through Kipaipai, a professional development community for artists led by curator and museum director Andi Campognone, and Shockboxx Projects in Hermosa Beach, led by artist and gallerist Mike Collins.
Anna Pacheco, Marten Elder