From canvas to conservation

Union Gallery

Student artist Emily Joyce aims for the Louvre

Emily Joyce and one of her paintings.
Credit: 
Supplied by Emily Joyce

“The dream is to one day work in the Louvre and work on the restoration of the Mona Lisa.”

Only halfway through her Fine Arts degree, Emily Joyce (Fine Arts ’19) is well on her way to reaching the big goals she has set for herself. Joyce is currently spending her summer in Venice, studying art history at The Biennale, one of the world’s leading contemporary art museums. 

“I have never taken a contemporary art course before, and since I am an artist myself it is important to keep up to date with what is going on in the art world today, so I thought this course would be an amazing opportunity for me to broaden my horizons on the creation of art in all of its possible forms,” she said to The Journal via email.

The Biennale is responsible for the biennial Art Biennale exhibit, where artists from over 70 countries showcase contemporary arts pieces in different country-themed pavilions; Joyce is also completing an internship there, acting as a docent in the Canadian pavilion. 

When asked her about her plans, her confidence translated even over email — Joyce is destined for a career in art restoration. 

“Art conservation will allow me to work in a museum space where I can be around art history and rich historical culture in the form of art, while also using my love for creating meticulous detail to try to repair paintings to their original state in order for museum goers to view them in the state the artist originally intended to display them,”she wrote. 

While she completes her degree, Joyce also works as a studio assistant for Samantha Shuter, an acrylic painter based out of Toronto. 

“I would mix specific paint colours for her, copy preliminary sketches onto her canvases and paint base layers on her work. It ended up working out because she ended up connecting me with another Toronto artist, Dani Cooperman, who was looking to pay a studio assistant for the same job, so I ended up working for the both of them last summer.”

Though Joyce is a powerhouse in the Fine Arts department today, she wasn’t always sure that art was for her. While she used to consider it as just a hobby, Joyce’s parents saw it as more than that — making her audition for the Specialized Visual Arts program at the Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts in North York, Toronto. 

“When I was accepted I actually cried and expressed how I didn’t want to go because I didn’t want to leave my elementary school friends who I had been going to school with since I was in kindergarten,” Joyce wrote. 

Although her parents forced her to go, she is grateful that they did. “[The] school, program and art teachers changed my entire life.” 

At university, Joyce began to explore other forms of art creation, with a special interest in printmaking. “I found a love for this medium because it is a good mix between being able to create meticulous detail while still having the painterly quality I enjoy in oil painting through the ink incorporated,” she wrote. 

“But I am still trying to figure out what my “thing” is … so far I have been finding that I really enjoy using flower and botanical symbolism as well as object symbolism to compose a piece that expresses a feeling of mine or even creates a portrait.”

As Joyce continues to work on her artistic style, she’s making plans for her return from Venice. This summer she’ll go back to Toronto to continue working for both Shuter and Cooperman, as well as continuing to explore different forms of art creation during her time at Queen’s. 

It’s just one more step on her journey to the Louvre. 

You can find more of Emily Joyce’s artwork on Instagram at@emilyjoyceartwork.

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