ARCATA ARTISANS

Joy Dellas

paints her iconic animals and angels wherever her brush lands - whether it is recycled boards or tin flashing, fine art materials, or house paint - the sorts of things that end up in the colorful studio/garden of her well-lived-in coastal home.

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The Artist My work is characterized by expressionist figurative imagery and brushwork, as well as a high key palette, bold composition and strong contrast. The mixed media paintings and drawings are made on a range of surfaces including recycled printing plates, door skin, aluminum flashing, building paper, mat board, canvas and paper. I work large or small scale, with fine artist's materials or recycled materials and house paint, and with classical or contemporary themes.

My imagery is from real life, dreams, mythology, folklore and religious traditions. I use pattern, symbolism and metaphor to express the humor and pathos essential to the human condition Subjects include my young son, commonplace angels, rural blight, dogs and cats (frequently as symbols for male and female), and food. My art is about the connection between the sacred and the mundane. The basic necessities of life - food, clothing and shelter are always connected, on a deeper level to the primal and the sacred. My mother (who dropped out of art school to become a wife and mother) was an atheist- somewhat druidic influence who taught me from an early age to see the mystical and spiritual qualities in nature.

I am inspired and influenced by folk and religious art of all kinds. I am especially interested in heroes and saints. In my own life I have found being a single mother to be somewhat of a Hero's Journey. I focus attention on everyday miracles and acts of courage that make the tapestry of our lives so much more endurable and extraordinary.

I was born in Syracuse, New York in 1957 where I grew up on a 50-acre farm. In fifth grade we moved to the suburbs of Scottsdale, Arizona. I dropped out of high school in 1974 and I was on the road to nowhere if it hadn't been for an interest in art and some good mentorship and training In 1978 I moved to Eureka, California, just before my 21st birthday, where. I bought a little beach shack in the peninsula town of Manila.

Since then I have kept my home and studio in Manila. Some refer to this town as "Appalachia by the Sea", although I fondly call it Chicken Beach. I've seen much hardship and tragedy here, often due to the effects of poverty, lack of education and drug abuse. Manila is one of the most scenic beach and dunes areas on the Northwest Coast and at the same time, one of the poorest rural communities. This paradox has continued to inspire me. I enjoy sharing this commitment and enthusiasm with my community.

I've been working on my house since I moved in; spending summers under the house, digging out sand so a foundation could be installed among other great projects. This has taught me a lot about being inventive and working with a variety of different materials. I know how to make art out of just about anything. My Greek and Scotch background has shown me to be thrifty and resourceful, qualities I find invaluable in the process of my art making and living life as an artist.

I've been a professional artist since 1984, receiving a master's degree in painting in 1987. I have instructed Adaptive Art (for adults with disabilities) and other art classes at College of the Redwoods off and on since 1990. I have given workshops in mixed media, sculpture, mural making, fantasy landscape, personal mythology, the image as metaphor, and humor in art. I have taught art classes for children and adults at Arcata Parks and Recreation and Mendocino Art Center and privately at my studio. I was an Artist in the Schools resident in 1995 and an Artist in the Communities resident in 01-2002. I've been a guest artist for the Arts Council Artists in the Schools and Poets in the Schools programs on several occasions. Currently I am working with Manila youth and adults, helping them to enjoy creative self-expression, funded by the North Coast Cultural Trust and the Humboldt Arts Council.

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