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Joyce Owens Anderson

Chicago-based artist, teacher and curator Joyce Owens Anderson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She grew up in a working class neighborhood in Philadelphia. Owens’ mother, Eloise Owens, was a trained opera singer, who encouraged her daughter to become an art teacher. Nevertheless, Owens attended Howard University, where she earned her B.F.A. degree in art. Owens then attended Yale University, earning her M.F.A. degree in painting. After working various jobs, including arts and crafts director, art teacher, and producer for Philadelphia’s CBS television station, Owens moved to Chicago, Illinois. She then spent eight years working for WBBM-TV, CBS Channel 2 in Chicago as the graphic arts coordinator for news. Owens did additional work for the company as a graphic artist, researcher and news assistant, all the time painting and exhibiting her art.

After Owens had a solo exhibition at Chicago State University she was invited to join the faculty. She has taught there since 1996, specializing in studio painting and drawing. Joyce Owens is known for addressing issues of racism, skin color and black self-determination through her paintings, masks, and installations. Her art materials are primarily acrylic paints on canvas, wood, and paper. Found objects are often incorporated into her two- and three-dimensional works. Owens’ artwork has been shown in juried, invitational, solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums nationally. Two of her curatorial efforts were singled out by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs as featured programs during Chicago Artists Month. Some other highlights of her career include being selected the featured artist for Columbia College’s fifteenth annual DanceAfrica Chicago Festival; inclusion in Daniel T. Parker’s book African Art: The Diaspora and Beyond; “The Art of Culture” exhibition and catalog that also featured artist/art historian, Samella Lewis; and Howard University’s “A Proud Continuum: Eight Decades of Art at Howard University,” a juried exhibition of former Howard art students including Elizabeth Catlett.

Owens’ work has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago magazine, The Chicago Reader, New Art Examiner, Rolling Out Chicago, TimeOut Chicago , Chicago’s PBS affiliate’s Art Beat Chicago, CBS2-TV, ABC7-TV Chicago and other magazines and newspapers in Chicago and other cities where her art has been shown.

In 2006, Owens was appointed curator of the Galleries Program at Chicago State University. That same year, she was awarded First Prize by Margaret Hawkins, a critic for ArtNews Magazine, for her Survivor Spirits Installation at the ninth Annual Art Open at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, having been previously awarded first prize by the artist Faith Ringgold in the 5th International Open. Owens has worked for Random House as a children’s book illustrator and was hired to paint the official portrait of former Chicago mayor Eugene Sawyer, among other commissions and honors. Owens is a long time member of Sapphire and Crystals, a collective of African American women artists, and of the Black Artists of D.C. Owens is featured in the “I’ve Known Rivers” project on the website of the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, and is an associate editor of the Journal of African American History.

Owens has two sons, Scott and Kyle; she lives in Chicago with her husband, journalist Monroe Anderson.

Bio Photo courtesy of Brent Jones

Accession Number

A2006.140

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/13/2006

Last Name

Anderson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Owens

Occupation
Schools

Pastorius Francis P Sch

Pratt Arnold School

Germantown High School

Wagner Gen Louis Ms

Yale University

Howard University

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

First Name

Joyce

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

OWE01

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Quote

Creativity Is Easy. Production Is Hard.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/1/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Vegetables

Short Description

Mixed media artist Joyce Owens Anderson (1947 - ) was an artist and art educator whose artwork was featured in many galleries and publications. She was curator of the Galleries Program at Chicago State University.

Employment

WCAU-TV

WBBM-TV

Chicago State University

Favorite Color

All Colors

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Joyce Owens Anderson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Joyce Owens Anderson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls challenges her mother faced due to her complexion

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls how her mother began her singing career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Joyce Owens Anderson talks about her mother's singing career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her maternal family members' musicianship

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Joyce Owens Anderson talks about Philadelphia's social register

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her decision to attend college

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her maternal family's involvement in the Elks organization

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Joyce Owens Anderson talks about her parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Joyce Owens Andersons recalls growing up on Philadelphia's York Street

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Joyce Owens Andersons describes the sights and sounds of her childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Joyce Owens Andersons describes the sights and sounds of her childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Joyce Owens Anderson talks about her maternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Joyce Owens Anderson lists her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Joyce Owens Anderson shares her mother's opinion of gospel singers

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls transferring to Francis D. Pastorius Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her relationship with her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her early exposure to art

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Joyce Anderson remembers her childhood interests

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her mother's civic activities in Philadelphia

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her educational experiences in Philadelphia

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Joyce Owens Anderson remembers Philadelphia's Camp William Penn

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Joyce Owens Anderson talks about the desegregation of Philadelphia's Girard College

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her childhood holidays

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Joyce Owens Anderson talks about Philadelphia's Quaker population

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her family's civil rights activities

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her mother's theatrical and oratorical activities

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her early art instruction

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her appointment as yearbook art editor

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her decision to attend Howard University, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her art instructors at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her decision to attend Howard University, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Joyce Owens Anderson remembers her first year at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her decision to pursue a M.F.A. degree, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Joyce Owens Anderson reflects upon her art education

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Joyce Owens Anderson talks about Lois Mailou Jones

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes memorable figures at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her art instruction at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her artistic expression

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her decision to pursue a M.F.A. degree, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Joyce Owens Anderson explains how Howard University prepared her to pursue her M.F.A. degree

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls the selection process for her M.F.A degree program

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls being hired at Philadelphia's WCAU-TV

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her early career at WBBM-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Joyce Owens Anderson remembers moving to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls becoming graphics coordinator at WBBM-TV in Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Joyce Owens Anderson reflects upon her time at Chicago's WBBM-TV

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her involvement in art shows on the East Coast

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her involvement in Chicago's arts community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Joyce Owens Anderson lists venues that showed her artwork in Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her first impression of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls how her artistic expression developed in Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Joyce Owens Anderson talks about finding success as an artist

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her artwork

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Joyce Owen Anderson talks about her artistic process, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her 'Survivor Spirits' series

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her artistic process, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her decision to start a family

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls balancing her television career with painting

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Joyce Owens Anderson talks about experimenting with various artistic media

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls Chicago's 'Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition'

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls becoming a professor and curator at Chicago State University

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls curating a faculty art show at Chicago State University

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes Chicago State University's art department

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her committee involvement in Chicago's arts community

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Joyce Owens Anderson reflects upon her teaching philosophy

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Joyce Owens Anderson reflects upon the value of art and creativity

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Joyce Owens Anderson talks about the inspirations for her artwork

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her ideal work situation

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Joyce Owens Anderson reflects upon her legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

9$4

DATitle
Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her art instructors at Howard University
Joyce Owens Anderson recalls balancing her television career with painting
Transcript
I mean, in the, in the '60s [1960s], all the, you know, the, the art teachers I had were the cream of the crop. I couldn't have had better teachers.$$Can we talk about that?$$Sure (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Who was there? Who was there at Howard [Howard University, Washington, D.C.]?$$James Porter [James A. Porter], the father of African American art history. [HistoryMaker] David Driskell, who's his successor, was my teacher. [HistoryMaker] Paul Carter Harrison, who's the renowned filmmaker. I did my first mask and I really only thought about this a couple of weeks ago. I was told by Ed Love, who was my mentor and my teacher, my painting teacher that I should design costumes for Paul Carter Harrison's play and, what was the name, 'Tabernacle,' I think was the name of that play. And so, I said, "Oh, I am?" (Laughter) So he said, "Yes, you are." So I created these masks and Lois Mailou Jones, who is, you know, and I, you know, I was trying to think, was there any other woman. She was the only woman and she was phenomenal. If you, if you wanted to work, she, she conducted the classroom like a Paris [France] salon, that's what she told us, she conducts it like a Paris salon. I model my teaching pretty much after her. She puts up all the work, she demonstrates in front of the students, and let me tell you, that's very difficult to talk to your students and actually paint but it's so important to students for them to see you work so I struggle with that but I do it. She was really, it was easy for her, it seemed easy. Maybe it seems easy to my students, too, I don't know but, and then she hung all the work and then she'd have the students say, well which one is, 'cause the students understood what was the best work and she would say, "What's the best piece?" And I was thrilled to be selected. I got, I had a, that was one of my A classes but she was, she was fabulous. James L. Wells [James Lesesne Wells], who was a printmaking icon. All of these people, if you read any books on African American art from, you know, like the WPA [Works Progress Administration] to, onward, you're going to see all these people represented.$Can you describe your work place, the home you had, you know have, to work out of and how are you balancing being, you know, a young mother and painting and having the discipline to do both?$$Yeah, the discipline wasn't really a problem for me. I don't know, the people who tell me that, you know, how do you--you know, they have problems painting. I think, I mean I think it's probably, you know, like my mother [Eloise Owens Strothers] said that if she couldn't sing, she might as well be dead. She, she would get up, you know, at six o'clock in the morning and she'd vocalize, you know, practice her, her scales. She would go to work, full-time. She would take voice lessons because singers continuously, apparently, so I learned from her, constantly, you know, train their voice. You know, they went to different voice teachers and, to keep her range or to, if she wanted to try to sing in another key, you know, you know, if she wanted to sing like a lower range, she'd have to do something, you know, exercise her vocal chords so that she could do that. And so, I learned from her, I guess, that you find that, you just have to find the time to do something that's important to you. So for me at, when I worked at CBS [WBBM-TV, Chicago, Illinois], I would go to a makeup room. You know they had these little makeup rooms in this back hall and I'd go in there and I'd, and I'd draw, I'd do self-portraits. I did a number of self-portraits in there or I'd draw, I'd draw in the newsroom. I have, I still have drawings of, you know, people sitting around the newsroom. I'd draw, I took the, I took public transportation, I'd draw on the bus. You know, the thing that, again, saving was my mentor, Ed Love because I would, I would feel that I wasn't producing enough, I wasn't being productive enough as an artist, and he told me that everything I do feeds my art, that I don't have to feel that just because I'm not physically, you know, with a brush in my hand or a pencil or a, you know, a drawing tool in my hand, doesn't mean I'm not creating because it's a mental process and I found out even more that it was a mental process when I broke my shoulder when my son was in eighth grade, so whenever that was, and I broke my right shoulder and I couldn't do anything. I had to have surgery to, for them to even put it back together and I'm right-handed and I broke my right shoulder and I started working left-handed and I started doing, I thought I'd work in a medium that I wasn't accustomed to so I started doing, you know, that I didn't do frequently. I told you I studied watercolor in college [Howard University, Washington, D.C.] but it wasn't, watercolor wasn't something I did, and I did it on and off. I did some, you know, in the '80s [1980s] and, but I wasn't, it wasn't my medium of preference, but I started doing watercolors of the flowers that people were sending me and I would send them as thank you notes to people and my husband [HistoryMaker Monroe Anderson], who was working for CBS at the time, he came there after I had been there, said at a, at a, you know, a directors meeting, you know, the general manager and the, all the directors were in a meeting together, and my card had arrived and they said, "Are you sure she did this with her left hand?" (Laughter) You know, because they turned out really well, and that's when I realized that my drawing ability is in my head. It doesn't have anything to do with my hands, it's in my head. So that's why, like a Chuck Close, with a, with physical impairment, can still produce viable artwork.