We had the good fortune of connecting with Joyce Billet and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joyce, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Creativity is the only way I can express myself and feel alive. I worked for a decade as an architect before moving on to a full-time career as a visual artist. Both fields are creative and very connected. I believe it is only a matter of approach. I felt that being a visual artist would allow me more freedom for creativity and having the time to explore my own interests at any scale possible. Architecture is present throughout my work and it has a strong influence on every piece. Some of the concepts I develop in my practice become larger scale sculptural elements such as furniture or public art pieces.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My last role was as Director of Store Design at CHANEL. It was a highly creative environment to work in. Most importantly, the talented people that I was collaborating with are what made it so special. From visiting artisans or creative teams in Paris to seeing Mr. Lagerfeld’s incredible show, I was constantly exposed to different creative sensibilities. It is also a house that is focused on every aspect of craft which is especially important to me
Wood and its byproducts are the main materials used in my work. The disposition of a material to be etched, cut, malleable, and organic, ties to nature from beginning to end, involving my hand and tools challenging the evolution that wood has come to have.
I am interested in duality: positive and negative forms, presence and absence, darkness and light. Just as nature has textures, debris, deposits and layered materials I aim to evoke the dialogue between the natural and the digital.
During Art Basel, I was selected to create a sculptural seating installation “Rising” for Untitled art fair. It explored the concept of duality by engaging both wall and floor with horizontal and vertical panels, rooted at the ground, and suspended as they rise.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would start out in Little River, with a coffee at Imperial Moto Cafe then studio visits at Fountainhead Studios, don’t forget the art bookshop Dale Zine located in the building. Continue exploring the neighborhood by visiting the surrounding galleries such as Primary Projects and Bill Brady. Lunch at Mr. Mandolin, with a quick stop across the street to look at flowers at Twigs and Daisies. From there, move on to the Design District to visit Gallery Lelong, David Castillo, De la Cruz Collection, the ICA.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First, my family who has always supported me in my artistic choices and continues to do so. Pratt Institute and Columbia University where I went to school, both institutions still let me use their facilities and provide incredible advice when needed, along with the talented network of alumni that I am still in touch with. My first mentor, Maurizio Pellegrin, an incredible artist and educator who took me under his wing for a year and pushed my artistic practice. Last but not least, Kathryn Mikesell and Fountainhead Studios. Her vision, support and warm welcome have been the key to entering Miami’s art community when I moved from New York, and I’m so grateful to her.
Romain Maurice Photography, Frank Casera, Fountainhead & M2 Films, Pedro Wazzan