By Denise DuBois
Joy Flowers is a 17 year old senior at Smiths Station High School. She is a musician in the Smiths Station High School Band and an award-winning artist. She has been a student at the Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art for quite some time, and on Nov. 30, she will be awarded the 2018 Merit of Artistic Achievement Award. There will be a reception for her at 6:30 ET at the Sarah West gallery of Fine Art. Beginning Dec. 4, she will have a solo exhibition at Smiths Station City Hall. Her artwork will be on display for the public to enjoy.
She has an interest in Earth and space sciences and her work reflects that love. The three-piece series that will be on display showcase her love of America’s space exploration history and its future.
Flowers responded this week to how she began painting and what it’s like to be the recipient of this award and have a solo exhibition.
Q: How long have you been painting and is there a specific kind you enjoy?
A: I have been painting since the moment my parents handed over a kid pack of finger-paints. I guess you could say that my mom got tired of me getting paint all over tables and walls and decided to enroll me in my first art class when I was five. Twelve years of exploring graphic arts has given me plenty of opportunities to delve into many mediums and subjects, but I’d have to say that my favorite is a tie between oil paint and watercolor. As for subject, I’ve gotten quite attached to stylized portraits.
Q: What made you begin your artistic journey and what has kept you painting all this time?
A: I first began art classes because my parents enrolled me and I wasn’t horrible at it. But after a few years I began to realize that it was something I truly enjoyed and wanted to continue. Over the years I’ve had some ups and downs with my creative flow, but the thing that always drags me back to the canvas is that art feels like the one true way to express myself. It lets me have a voice. Not only can it be a kind of meditation after a long day, but it is a way to tell a story when words fail.
Q: Do you have a favorite artist?
A: A long-time favorite artist of mine would have to be Attila Hejja and his works of NASA’s space program. However, I have recently discovered a young Russian artist, John Fenerov. His portraits have been a major source of inspiration for my most recent studies.
Q: Talk about this award and how you received it.
A: The Merit of Artistic Achievement is something that is awarded to students at the Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art who have shown great dedication to their studies, volunteered outside of their class, and have explored a great expanse of mediums, subjects, and styles. Because I have been a student at the gallery for somewhere around six years now, I have had the chance to do just that. My completion of landscapes, city scapes, still lifes, and portraits in graphite, pastel, colored pencils, ink, watercolor, acrylic, and oil paint along with my many extra hours of work have led me to this award.
Q: How does it feel to have the solo exhibition and what your plans are for the future.
A: Being given the opportunity of this solo exhibition is quite honestly a dream come true. Granted, I am a bit nervous, but nerves are all apart of the experience. Getting recognized for my own work after having spent over half of my life dedicated to getting it to where it is today feels amazing. As for what my future holds, I’m not sure. While art is no doubt a major part of who I am, I never really intended for it to be a career. I’m enrolled to begin college studying astrophysics and planetary geology, but picking up graphic arts as a minor at some point is definitely something I am considering. Either way, discontinuing my studies is nowhere in my future plans.
Flowers is the daughter of Chris and Becky Flowers. She has a younger brother named Cody.