Joy Spika

Artist. Educator, Youth Mentor
Involved with Intermedia Arts since: 2005
Mentor and Educator Joy Spika believes in the power of art to communicate and connect people. From a young age she has used art as a fundamental form of expression and communication. Joy finds Inspiration through her intuitive understanding of the world around her and those things that aren’t always visible to the naked eye.
How did you become an artist?
I have always used art as a way to communicate and express myself, for me it was a necessary part of my existence since I can remember. I continue to learn more about it, experience new ways to practice my art, and allow room for growth.How does art influence change in the world? How does your art do this?
My art is a tool that I use to communicate my experiences and perspective. It can also be very therapeutic. When I show other people ways to do that for themselves, it helps them add to their own metaphorical tool belt, and that is why teaching is important to me. Not everyone knows how outputs like art making can be integral to their experience, and sometimes it isn’t, but showing up and giving that option is important to me.What inspires you?
I’m inspired by the details in the world around me that may be insignificant to others; transfers of energy, things you may not notice in everyday interactions, history, the future, metaphysical realities, justice, the power of individuals speaking their truth, and telling their stories.

What is an artist-activist? What are some adjectives you would use to describe an artist-activist?
It can mean creating work that speaks on a political level to engage a community or create a voice for those that have none. It can be actively supporting organizations like Intermedia Arts with artwork and participation.  I make work that relates to my experience in the hopes that another person can either learn or relate to and know they are not alone. In my teaching, I use art to empower and engage people to open up the kind of opportunities I’m so grateful to have been given.

How has Intermedia Arts been a part of your story?
Being a part of Intermedia Arts is one of the greatest joys in my life, it is a safe and inspiring space for me.

What is one of your most powerful or meaningful experiences at Intermedia Arts?
The first B-girl Be really changed my life, being in the glow of all those incredible artists and feeling equal, but also like I had a lot to learn from these women, it was inspiring. I felt like I was a part of something bigger than myself. That was the first time I experienced that kind of event, on that level.

“I make work that relates to my experience in the hopes that another person can either learn from or relate to it and know they are not alone.”
– Joy Spika

At what point in your artistic career did you find your true voice? How did you find it?
Art has always been a part of my vocabulary so I feel like I’ve always had my true voice; I had to learn to be brave enough to share it. I learned how to refine it and implement it into the things that made sense to me, such as social justice.

How has art changed your life?
It allows me to have a voice, a purpose, an extension of myself, and place to leave my emotions and move on. It is necessary for my survival. When I teach, I try to remember how it felt to be encouraged, and how valuable that can be. Being able to create connections to art for others is something I’m so grateful for.

Joy Spika is a mixed media artist focusing in illustration and installation. Joy’s interest in art started at a very early age: inspired by her family that included; metal workers, dressmakers, weavers, woodworkers, and painters, she learned how to create in many mediums.  She learned to use her imagination to create art out of recycled items and the immediate resources available. She originally went to college for sociology and has always had a deep love and fascination with culture and people. However she was soon was taken over by her love for ceramics, mixed media painting, and sculpture. Joy transferred to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2006 and Graduated with a B.F.A in 2009. In school she studied printmaking, mixed media art, ceramics, puppet making, painting, and comics. Outside of school she explored the world of muraling, and participated in B-girl Be, along with several of her friends who are now working and showing work together as Tantrum Art Collective. She also has a large interest in the taboo, macabre, tattoo art, and sub-cultural studies from all around the world. Thesefascinations have contributed to the diversity in her own work, including the media’s she works in. Joy has shown in many galleries in Minneapolis, and Chicago while she lived there. She loves to show her work in unexpected places as well: from murals in many neighborhoods in Minneapolis, to showing a painting series at a coffee shop, or selling toys in local businesses, Joy finds all of the ways to show all kinds of people her work much more important than showing exclusively in galleries.