By Joyce Creiger, June 2016
Joyce: To begin can you tell me about your personal life...what constitutes your family?
I was born in North Tonawanda, NY, a working class suburb of Buffalo. Buffalo is really a great area to grow up, hard-working, middle class people. My father was an insurance salesman. My mother was a stay at home Mom and I'm the third of four children. I was the only one in my family to complete a four-year college education and earn my Master's Degree in Art Education.
I'm married with one son who has a family of his own. When I married little did I realize I would travel all over the world, visiting such places as Africa (5 times), Australia (3 times), Tibet, China, India, all over Europe, and other countries I haven't mentioned. This all happened because of my husband's career with Toyota.
All of my travels expanded my small world and awakened me to new adventures and possibilities. The people I've met through Toyota are some of the nicest I know.
Joyce: How long have you been working in the arts and how did you begin?
My idea of being an artist came to me very early in life. I had an Uncle Erv who actually lived in California. My father's brother would visit our family about once a year or so, bringing gifts and dresses (he had seven sons, no girls). He always asked to see my artwork, and soon I started making art for him to see and keep. He always asked a lot of questions and took a genuine interest in what I was doing.
I started being more involved in school with art, winning contests, and being in charge of classroom and school art. I guess this type of attention spurred my wanting to teach art as well. I went to State University College at Buffalo for undergraduate and master's degrees. I taught in Lewiston, New York, a beautiful little town outside of Niagara Falls. I taught there eight years. During that time, I got married. I then started the process of many moves with my husband's work in the auto industry. During the time we lived in Northern New Jersey I would get up early and take a bus to New York city. I took painting classes at the Art Students League while my husband got our son off to school. New York was another exciting adventure for me and I loved going there. My work became more abstract, painting more landscapes.
While living in Maryland for nine years I had my own studio and became involved in a great local artist group. I loved Maryland and hated to leave. I'd also take side trips to New York. In California (we lived there three different times), I continued to paint and went to various workshops and attended what was then called Laguna Beach School of Art. Also, during this time I started traveling more, raising our son and continuing my painting.
Joyce: Describe a few recent projects and rewards associated with the projects.
About three years ago I conceived of the idea for my Ancient Warrior Torso Project, an installation of thirty torsos. Since beginning, I have completed twenty-eight torsos. My goal is thirty.
The rewards of doing this project have been many. Each woman has their own background and history which is as individual as their physical appearance. They also bring with them their story and whatever that might mean to them. The stories will then be a part of the installation along with their torso. Not only have I had the reward of seeing a transformation when the hard plaster shell is removed, but I've heard them say, "This really feels like a shield or a hard protective coating of armor."
Working with all of these women makes me realize our humanness, and all we share in joy and vulnerability. We all have a story to tell and a voice crying to be heard.
You can read the full interview with Joyce Creiger, premiere art consultant in the Boston-area, at ArtSpecifier.com.