Illustrator and painter Joy Miess (they/them) creates art that revolves around memories and feelings, translating observations into art pieces that speak the language of Jean-Michel Basquiat, but with a contemporary twist. Their illustrated observations are often nostalgic, but without being tacky – the kind of nostalgia for a simpler truth, that’s ingrained in realism.
“Bringing nostalgic feelings into the work I create is part of my character,” explained Miess in an interview with Varoom. “Naturally, I find myself reminiscing or trying to remember past events and conversations in order to strengthen the memory. I forget stories and key elements all the time, so to be able to turn these memories – many of which don’t have photographs documenting them – into artworks, adds permanence to the stories that I value.”
According to Miess, their work is in response to their day-to-day, conversations, and relationships, all of which make their way into the canvas. “There’s a certain order that my work has to be read to be understood, and the repeat symbology holds a story that’s unique to my life experiences,” they note.
But at least judging by their buzzing online presence, this symbology seems to echo other people’s experiences. On top of a growing following on Instagram, Miess have showcased their work in Beers London Gallery and Office&Gallery Los Angeles. They have also created public artwork along the Southbank as part of LDN WMN, a project curated by Tate Collective.
Follow their Instagram page for more.