The Heroine’s Journey of Joyce Polance

What is the best thing that I love about my work?  The constant challenge of painting – seeing the completely unanticipated art I produce. I discover so much about myself and have to accept my lack of control over all of it.
What is my idea of perfect happiness?  Riding my bike on a cool autumn day, preferably in the hills with lots of colored leaves and no wind.
What is my greatest fear? My husband’s death.
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?  It’s very hard for me to ask people for anything.
Which living persons in my profession do i most admire? My very favorites are all dead, but here are a few: Anselm Kiefer, Frank Auerbach, Peter Doig, Aleck Chekini, Alex Kanevsky, the sculptor Grzegorz Gwiazda, Jenny Saville
What is my greatest extravagance?  I spend a whole lot on paint and canvas.
On what occasion would I lie?  To spare someone hurt or a small white lie to simplify my life.
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?  The inability to translate what is inside my head to the canvas – although sometimes it winds up even better!
When and where was I the happiest, in my work?  The happiness comes and goes depending on if my painting is working and I feel I’m pushing myself to new ground. When it’s good, it gets better and better.
If I could, what would I change about myself?  I’d like to have an easier time conversing with people I don’t know and advocating for myself professionally. I’d like to sleep well (I have terrible insomnia).
What is my greatest achievement in work?  Being willing to let go of doing something when I get very good at it. It’s important for me to always push myself creatively. Taking those risks – that’s art.
Where would I most like to live? New York or Paris if I had the funding to match. That said, I’m quite happy in Chicago.
What is my most treasured possession? My bicycle. It’s a very nice Serotta road bike.
What is my most marked characteristic? I’m very silly. I laugh a lot. I’m known as a giggler.
What is my most inspirational location, in my city?  Lake Michigan. It’s wild like the ocean and always changing.
What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? I love Indian food. Our go-to is usually Hema’s Kitchen on Devon Avenue, although they don’t have goat curry, my favorite dish.

What books influenced my life and how? I also write as a hobby, so much like with visual art, whatever feeds my creativity is the most beloved at the moment. When I read David Grossman’s “See Under: Love” (my favorite book), I was consumed by its genius and wanted to live up to that. Grace Paley’s short stories did the same thing – the way she used language. The creativity of Bruno Schulz’s “The Street of Crocodiles” blew me away. In high school, “A Tale of Two Cities” got me obsessed with France.
Who are my favorite writers? David Grossman, Grace Paley, Nicole Krauss and Marcel Proust.
You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? Submarine Bells by The Chills, Bird Dog by The Verlaines,  and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto #2 (recorded by Evgeny Kissin).
Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? I don’t think I have one. Sydney Carton comes to mind, but not to emulate. I loved Liesel and Max in “The Book Thief.” My favorite character, but certainly no hero, is Behemoth in “The Master and Margarita.”
Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? People who take risks to make the world better by fighting for the truth – through art, or journalism, or practicing medicine in dangerous places, etc. Great teachers. People who show up in the world with honesty and authenticity. The Parkland kids. The brave #MeToo women. They don’t have to be famous.
Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? It’s a total cliche, but probably Casablanca. Although when I think of Shoah, it could be the most important.
What role plays art in my life and work? I’m pretty consumed by a constant need to create. I paint most weekdays and work on my images on the computer at home. I often write during the evenings or on weekends. I went to see a Soutine show in New York this year, and I sobbed in front of a painting of a carcass of beef. It was like a cathedral. I left the show filled with emotion and inspiration – that’s what good art should do.
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?  My husband Frank.
Whom would I like to work with in 2019?  My fantasy is a studio of contemporary painters whose work I love, each with a personal space but coming together for dialogue and inspiration. I find them all over Instagram – expressionist artists with passion and energy whose work speaks to mine. They also live all over the world, so it remains a fantasy.
Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2019? Aleck Chekini. Alex Kanevsky.  Frank Auerbach.
What project, in 2019, am I looking forward to work on?  I’m always pushing my paintings to see where I can take them, so it’s never a specific project. I can say they will likely look different at the end of 2019 than they do now, and I have no idea what that will be. Each one leads me to the next.
Where can you see me or my work? My website is which has my paintings and links to writing. I’m on Facebook and Instagram (@JoycePolance). I live in Chicago and show at Elephant Room Gallery in Chicago and Judy Ferrara Gallery in Three Oaks, MI.
What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? It’s the reason I’ll paint and write until I die. My passion for creating art is such an intrinsic part of who I am, it’s not possible to retire from it. It only increases as I get older because I become more comfortable with expressing my authentic self. I learn to honor and listen to my inner voice. When I see that reflected in my work, it feeds my desire to do more.
Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? I love Christie Tate because she puts herself out there so vulnerably in her writing.
Riva Lehrer is a wonderful painter and writer who has done a lot to depict people with physical disabilities while fighting through her own.

How can you contact me?

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