Artist Interview - Joi Murugavell

Every artist has their own unique background, style, experiences, techniques and perspective. We can all learn from each other, be inspired by one another, and continue to share the joy of art.

Speaking of joy, here's what artist Joi Murugavell had to say in her Artist Interview:

Who are you and what do you do?
Joi Murugavell. Pronounced; Joi like the emotion and Moo-Ru-ger-veil like a shy kangaroo. What I do is wonder about things all day, all day. And unfortunately at night too so I’ve got that insomnia thing happening. I also draw all day (it’s related to wondering), and have since I was 6 (I can’t remember anything before that). Lately I’ve been painting but it’s only called painting because I use a brush.

Joi Murugavell

Why do you do what you do?
I read about this; I’m pretty sure it was by Elizabeth Gilbert. She said she writes because she has to give her mind a banana or it finds other things to do, not necessarily good things. I’m the same. And a cool side effect is my art helps me listen and understand more, about life I mean. It’s pretty much why I draw. It calms my mind and helps me learn.

How and when did you get into art?
When I was 6. How? I’m not sure. Maybe I wasn’t so good at the reading and writing thing (definitely not good at communicating) when I was younger. If I was, maybe I wouldn’t have been drawing so much.

How has your practice changed over time?
I used to be so bothered about getting all my lines perfect and colours flat. I don’t care so much now as that sort of thing doesn’t help me/anyone/anything much. These days I’m more focused on why and what I’m drawing. I literally have to trick myself into seeing things for what they are. Art is fantastic for that. For example, I wake up in the morning, have some toast and frequently think, geez there’s a lot of poo in my head. Then I proceed to draw and paint (when using a brush) and it (faulty walnut) calms down, the fog lifts. I’m very thankful for that.
White Lies - Causes and Effects

What’s your favorite piece of art that you’ve created? Why?
This is a large drawing on paper from a series of 3 called “The Scared in The Sad”. I was chatting with a good friend who was about to do something painful and difficult - break up with someone she’s been with for 4 years.

She felt quite ill knowing it’s something that she had to do, as it was best. I’ve made it a point lately to not just make listening sounds when someone has a problem. You know the one “oh that’s bad, so sad etc etc”. I kinda want to be a little more useful than that. So when we spoke, I realised that there’s always a scared in our sads. We can’t really help the sad as that’s predominantly a time thing (to feel better). But we can certainly help the scared by deduction so I asked her what she was scared about in relation to the break up. We talked about the scary bits that may not even be real and which bits could be fixed. That’s what this series of drawings are about. They’re my favourite (at the moment) because they’re about helping and understanding in a real way.
Scared in Sad 1

Scared in sad 2

What’s the best piece of art advice you’ve been given?
“Don’t itch if you’re not willing to scratch." Great advice from dad that relates to everything.

What’s one art tip/technique you can share with us that you find really helpful? 
Try really hard to ignore the instant gratification drug dished out by social media. It will waste a whole lot of time.

Do you have any secret tips or techniques you use to salvage a piece when you make a mistake?
I think my technique thrives on mistakes. A finished piece is one mistake after the other and I love that a smudge or spill merges into a cat, llama or both.

What is your favorite Strathmore paper?
400 Series Recycled Drawing paper. I buy it in a roll. When it arrives, I sit down, close my eyes and sniff it. It works great with acrylics, markers and pens. It’s also neat that it has a slight beige tint.

400 Series Recycled Drawing

What art materials could you not live without?
Anything that’s in pen form: fine tip pens (Sakura, Uni fine line, Muji), markers (Posca, Krink, Sharpies). Lately I’ve also been digging Golden Fluid Acrylics, and “The Virus” a brush by Mack that lives up to its name.

See more from Joi:
Joi's Website
Joi's Instagram Page
Joi's YouTube Channel
Joi's Facebook Page

How to store large paper drawings
How Joi stores her large drawings flat.

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