Artist of the month – Joy Gerrard

Artist of the month – Joy Gerrard

What is your typical studio routine?

I’m not in the studio everyday, except when I have a big deadline coming up. I quite often do administration, research and planning from home. Normally, I’m in the studio three to four days a week. I have a school drop off, so would usually do a 10-6 kind of a day. I love working very intensely coming up to an exhibition. Then, I am in work for twelve hour days; for six to seven days a week. However, this is only sustainable for around a month. But, I do think that this focused concentration allows you to make creative jumps. I often try to invent or produce deadlines; things like open call submissions or studio visits; in order to have a series of deadlines during the year. I’ve always had a studio space. For me it’s an essential part of being an artist.

Was there a definitive point in your life that you decided to become a professional artist?

I always wanted to be an artist. As a teenager, I had a romantic idea of what that practically involved. It was the subject I excelled at in school; and I had wonderful teachers. I think doing my Masters at the Royal College in my late twenties was a transformative stage. The two years there allowed me to develop, and to become a different kind of an artist. It gave me the confidence to persevere later when times were difficult. I’ve also been very lucky. After graduating from the RCA, I taught and completed a series of public art projects. This allowed me to develop sustainable skills and just continue being an artist.

Have you completed any artist residencies or are there any you aspire to?

Yes. Most recently, I completed a two month Residency at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris. This was in the first three months of 2020; just before the lockdown. It was a really powerful time to be there. I witnessed huge pension protests, and documented the International Women’s Day marches. It was an amazing research time and I’m still working through ideas that I started there.

I came home into the first lockdown; so the contrast between the two experiences was extreme. Paris is, of course, beautiful and it was a pleasure just to be there. But, I also loved the working atmosphere at the Centre, which was very focusing. It was a great place to work, and I would recommend anyone to apply.

About the artist:

Joy Gerrard lives and works in Belfast. She graduated with a BA from NCAD, Dublin and an MA and MPhil from the Royal College of Art, London. Gerrard is known for work that investigates different systems of relations between crowds, architecture and the built environment.

Recent solo exhibitions include ‘put it to the people’ at the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast (until 20th November 2020), ‘supermarket‘ in Stockholm with Ormston House (2019) and ‘shot crowd’ at the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin (2017). Selected group exhibitions include: Protest and Remembrance, Cristea Roberts Gallery, London, 2019 and Crossing Lines, Highlanes, Drogheda and FE McWilliam Gallery, Banbridge 2019. She has installed multiple public installations since 2004 including major works in the London School of Economics, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, for Tideway (London) and Facebook (London and Dublin)

Gerrard completed a residency at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris earlier this year and is an Associate Member of the RHA, Dublin. Her recent work on the Black Lives Matter movement was included in The Golden Thread Gallery’s ‘Not Alone’ touring exhibition of summer/ autumn 2020.

Images: from ‘put it to the people’, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, 8th October – 20th November 2020.