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Life and Work with Joey Deruy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joey Deruy.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Joey. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born in New Mexico and raised equal parts in Kenya, Africa; Bass Harbor, Maine; and Helena Montana. My work was first published in Missoula, Montana at the age of 18. I then moved to Dallas, Texas. I worked in the fashion & design industries, and that was a catalyst to my life as a full time artist.

Next, I moved to San Francisco, where I had gone to for a decade as a teenager. I found love and family there! In return for my admiration, San Francisco gave me a playground of delight, along with the ability to pursue pure imagination without prejudice.

My time in San Francisco led to an extended trip to Kowloon, Hong Kong. I made quick friends and established a connection with a culture that was foreign to any of my past. This trip ignited an inspiration inside to immerse me in the “experience” of art.

When I came back from Hong Kong, I moved from San Francisco to Washington D.C., then to Wasilla, Alaska for a short time, then to Las Vegas, Nevada. Finally, I found my way back to beautiful California. I’ve painted private commissions in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, and San Diego. Currently, I’m working in Los Angeles.

Please tell us about your business.
1. Tell about your art.

I’m self-taught and I hope to forge a specific, line-driven, figurative style all my own. My work combines the playfulness of late 20th Century street art with the geometric African inspired abstraction of Cubism, often with witty references to pop culture and geographic places.

2. What do you do to make, create?

I make paintings, illustrations, and sometimes murals. In the end, as an artist, I’m open to lending my perspective to an eclectic arena of creative platforms. I spend a majority of my time painting on canvases. My imagery has been utilized in various outlets and venues. I have illustrated for media and product packaging. I’ve worked with local governments to contribute art placed in public spaces. I’ve painted murals, on walls, furniture, and I even designed a few tattoos.

3. How do you create it?

My studio feels like a self-made hanging garden veranda with a water feature that allows for a meditative state of being. There are a simple table and chair set up on one side of the space and an easel on the other. In the early morning, I’ll sketch a little of the first impressions of the day. I employ a type of automated sketching to clear my mind until ideas formulate and the sketch takes shape. Then, I’ll prep the easel and paint the work. I find the best lighting to be at sunrise and at dusk. The bulk of my work is made in the mornings. In the afternoons I’ll take a walk around the neighborhood, get a coffee or beer at a cafe and reflect on the work that I did in the studio. I’ll return to the studio and apply the notes I’ve taken throughout the day to the painting.

I always carry a pad and pencil with me at all times! The longer the journey, the bigger the sketch pads! This is how I preserve ideas as they come and document the work as I go. Each painting is researched and documented to maintain a bank of ideas in my archives. Private commissions have journals that coincide with each individual commission.

4. Why do you create it?

Art is not just my life; it is the only way of life I know! It is the means with which I connect to the spiritual universe, my third eye. It’s how I find a rhythm in a chaotic world. If our lives are a result of insignificant moments, I want to document those moments. Painting has always been a means to “connect” to me. It was used as a means to connect the emotions inside my head as a child. I was shy and around a lot of adults. I found that drawing was more relatable. Later, as I grew older, I realized its ability to be a means to interact with others. I think we need to be noble and find out what unites us all. I think people tend to think of success and progress as a “moving up” instead of the idea that sometimes when things stop and are not forever it could be more about the actual transitioning through, instead of going up from one thing to another.

6. What’s the inspiration?

Currently, I’m obsessed with ancient history. I feel that knowing as much of our history as possible is the best way to prepare for an inevitable future. I think there are secrets of our future that are contained in the history of our ancient past.

7. What do you hope people take from it?

I want to facilitate communication. I want people to learn, read, and grow. I want them to meet their neighbor. I want them to fall in love with a charity. I would like my art to endow the mind of the observer with curiosity.
I never really wanted to be an artist when I was a kid. I just learned to appreciate what was a natural gift for me. I want to benefit the greater good. There is a fluidity when I paint that is simple and organic. I hope people can feel that when they experience my work.

8. What should we know about it?

It almost didn’t happen. I had my own ideas about what I thought I wanted to do. I pursued everything else! I thought art to be an organized or unprofessional or messy business and I wasn’t sure about it. I never really pursued art but my art was always there and it was a way of helping others for me. So, I grew to respect and love it because it allowed me to raise money for charities, and to create a new mental space for someone’s home that may have lost someone or something. Art for me is about relationships. My relationship with the art, the observer of the art, and their relationship to the art is everything! It is a love affair. It is a love affair that has matured and grown.

Do you think there are structural or other barriers impeding the emergence of more female leaders?
To keep the purpose of craftsmanship in artistry flourishing in an advanced era of instant imagery.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Owen Kolasinski

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