Joyce Jeffrey is an emerging artist who started drawing at the age of five using cartoon books as references. Joyce progressed from contour drawing to adding life through shading and highlights. She developed a passion for portrait drawing and cultivated her skills throughout her youth until she became proficient.
Joyce continued to enhance her skills through formal education while in high school. In the eleventh grade, she enjoyed spending the second half of each school day at Okmulgee Tech where she studied commercial art for 1.5 trimesters.
After graduating from high school, Joyce attended the University of Oklahoma. There, she first got a glimpse of her ability to create and not just duplicate art. Joyce painted a mural in her dorm room and another mural about genocide for the Wazuri House, a cultural center where black students gathered for meetings and events. After participating in a prison outreach sponsored by the University, she created a water color painting depicting the experience. Although these accomplishments convinced her that she was an artist, she did not pursue an art career.
Born in Okmulgee, Oklahoma in 1953, Joyce moved to Detroit in 1986 for her second stint in the motor city, where a consistent focus on her art wouldn’t start until 30 years later. Joyce, who was a homemaker and stay-a-home mother for many years, drew portraits occasionally as a hobbyist. Art, however, always called and Joyce answered.
In 2003, Joyce returned to college and in 2006 earned a second degree, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Wayne State University. She also earned a Master of Arts in 2010 at Eastern Michigan University, where her master thesis exhibition, “Knot Bad,” was well-received. The master thesis consisted of a sculpture and a 16-piece black and white photo series, which celebrated black women’s natural hair. The master thesis project also was part of a one-day exhibition called “It’s All Good Hair” at Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
A hiatus was broken in 2016 when Joyce attended a weekly gathering of artists, curators, and collectors in Detroit known as the Breakfast Club. Its “electrifying atmosphere” propelled her to pursue art as an entrepreneur. As a result, Joyce has participated in several exhibits and began selling her work.
In November 2019, Joyce won first place (juried) in the first annual Emerge! Art Festival, hosted by the Hannan Center, for her painting named “Royal Legacy.” It also won the Emerge! People’s Choice Belle Isle award.
Joyce is a multi-disciplinary artist who explores cultural and spiritual life through her abstract paintings, sculpture, and photography. Her creative clarity is honed by relentlessly following her inner voice. Passionate and introspective, Joyce finds artistic inspiration all around her, especially in nature. She describes her primary creative process as “approaching the canvas in a subconscious way” where initial designs are examined for revelation and then completed.
Today, Joyce pours her whole heart into her art and looks forward to the creative journey ahead.