We had the good fortune of connecting with Nancy Hilliard Joyce and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nancy, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I’ve made a lot of mistakes. But, I have found over the years that the more risks I am willing to take, the more opportunities arise. I chronicled about these mistakes, risks, and opportunities in a short memoir that I self-published in 2018. A short excerpt from my book, The Education of Little Me, explains a little bit about how making mistakes and taking risks allows us to grow: “While in Cambodia, I learned the story of the lotus flower. The flower begins its life at the bottom of a muddy, dark, lifeless swamp-like environment. As the flower slowly rises above the murky waters, its pure, vibrant petals emerge unscathed. As their pedals reach towards the sky like a sun salutation they again, each night, retreat into the muddy waters. Their stems bend in every which way but are almost impossible to break by hand. They remain sturdy and stable in their unfavorable environment, regardless of their surroundings. In other words, its hardships that make us stronger. Those that can continue to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, regardless of intermittent failings, often resist ultimate failure.” I have applied for and not gotten accepted to hundreds of shows, I have submitted tons of proposals that were rejected, I have reached out to so many people for collaborations and either been ignored or they’ve seemed uninterested, I have failed and made mistakes as a mother, as an artist, in my marriage, and as a friend but I keep learning and growing from these risks and within those risks, hundreds of amazing opportunities have emerged. If I fail from taking a risk, I get back up. I try again. I keep going. That’s really it, just keep going. Keep going with whatever you are doing and working towards. I really want to encourage people to write that book, paint that piece, send in that proposal, ask for that raise, and reach for the stars. Just 15 minutes a day is all you need. Make time for your dreams, creations, family, and friends. Feed your soul and nourish your spirit and your risks will eventually pay off in spades!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am passionate about giving back to the environment, women, and children in need and I use my art as a platform to raise money for charity and non-profit organizations. In 2011, I began a partnership with several non-profit organizations. A percent of each painting for sale is now designated to one of these organizations. When you purchase a painting, you can choose which organization you would like to foster. My underlying theme has always been centered around the thought of how time affects every single living thing. Throughout the course of my art career, ‘time’ has manifested itself through imagery and paintings of wheels (what goes around comes around/circle of life, cogs, and inner workings of a clock), nature (how the light of the day might hit a certain branch and cast a deep shadow on the forest floor or how starlings turn and flip in time with one another to create murmurations), women (how deep-rooted history effects and influences our youth), and architecture (the time-lapse and encapsulation of art and design). Regardless of how it has revealed itself, the theme of time has been a consistent thread for me since 2007. Currently, I am observing the multi-faceted relationship that women have with time, it being both the root of our frustration and undeniable motivator. These pieces aim to be provocative and to evoke deep emotion and conversations about women and the ever-changing nature of their worlds.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The first place I would take a friend visiting Atlanta is to the Botanical gardens. There are always events, tours, and special exhibitions happening. It is truly one of the most inspirational places you will find in the southeast. Next, I’d stop off at the High Museum of Art which houses over 15,000 works of art in the permanent collection. They also have interactive and immersive installations that are open to the public. I’d head over to Cafe Sunflower for lunch, they serve amazing vegetarian and vegan meals. After lunch, I’d take them to the Georgia Aquarium, which truly earns its glory and hype for reasons that are both credible and fantastic. Finally, for dinner, I’d head over to the Atlanta Fish Market and order their Chilean Sea Bass (Hong Kong style), parmesan grits, and a glass of wine.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to shout out to Lotus Outreach International. Their subsidiary organization, Lotus Pedals and I have been connected since 2015 when I traveled to Cambodia from the sale of artwork to provide over 250 bicycles to young girls. The girls in their programs are prime targets for abuse and sex trafficking. All too often, they are forced to choose between eating and paying for a taxi to attend classes. For many, their time is better spent working than traveling several kilometers to school on foot. Given a bicycle, these tough decisions disappear. Lotus Pedals has changed the lives of hundreds of girls by supplying safe, reliable transportation. When girls stay in school, their achievements far exceed those of formal lessons: they gain confidence, access to academic communities, and the respect of their families and neighbors. Girls who ride Lotus Pedals bikes to school tend to view the new avenues available to them as leading back to their home communities. They are charting a course to become doctors, teachers, and non-proﬁt leaders in their own villages.