Carving Out Time for Art with Christine Joy

I found Chris Joy’s work on Instagram and was instantly drawn to her patterns, lines, and use of color. I like her patterns so much because they’re simple in the best sense – an edited use of lines, shapes and color to convey a cohesive design that is visually appealing. I was so happy that she was game to participate in my interview series, and hope you’ll enjoy her insight and perspective. I’m sure we’ll continue to see great things from her. Thank you so much, Chris.COTFA-Christine-Joy


Tell us about yourself. How old are your children? Where can we find you?

I’m a Brooklyn based surface pattern and product designer specializing in the home goods market. I have an MBA and worked as a marketing manager for a large financial services company before leaving to pursue my dream for all things design. I wasn’t quite sure which design field I was most passionate about (I love them all!) but settled on Industrial Design and got a Masters from Pratt in that field. I officially launched Christine Joy Design at the surface pattern licensing tradeshow, Surtex, in the summer of 2014. I’m also a wife and a mom to two very sweet and rambunctious toddlers.

My daughter is almost 2 and a half and my son is 17 months. I am home with the kids three days a week. I work from home on my design business on the other two days and on some evenings.

COFTA-Christine-Joy-6Has your approach to painting, your processes, medium, or your inspiration changed since having children?

I’m constantly in awe of my children’s curiosity and imagination. I find great inspiration in watching them explore their surroundings and love seeing the look of amazement in their eyes as they discover something new. This sense of wonder and exploration absolutely influences my creating. I am more excited to try new mediums to see what I can create. I only recently started experimenting with watercolor and am love with it! It may be my new favorite medium.

COFTA-Christine-Joy-2

Is it easy or difficult for you to find/make time to create? Did you have to give anything up? Do you have advice on what works for you?

On my designated work days, it is easy for me to find the time to create. The other three days of the work week definitely pose more of a challenge in that i can’t just pick up a pen or paintbrush and create even though I may be feeling inspired. With two very energetic kids, it’s almost impossible to create when they are around and demanding all of my attention. Not that it can’t be done, it just requires getting a little creative. At times I can get my daughter to “draw with Mommy” but that only holds her attention for so long. Because of this, I try to make the most out of nap time and save  a lot of my creating until they are down for their nap. I’m so fortunate that they are on the same schedule and nap at the same time!

COFTA-Christine-Joy-4How does being an artist make you a better mother to your children? What do you hope they take away from seeing you as an artist doing something that fulfills you? 

I hope both my kids realize that doing what you love can in fact be a career. I hope they learn that pursuing your passion and earning a living aren’t mutually exclusive. Making a living doing what you love will absolutely take time and patience, but the money will come. I’d love them to help them figure out what their passion and talents are and find ways to make a career for themselves using their unique gifts. I also will instill in them the importance of surrounding yourself with people (your spouse, friends, associates etc) that uplift you and support your dreams. I am beyond lucky to have a husband who is so supportive of me and has been Christine Joy Design’s number one fan since day one.

COFTA-Christine-Joy-3Where do you paint or create? What are your favorite things about your workspace and what would you improve? Do you ever create art with your kids?

My home studio consists of my dining room table and a my office which is a small corner of my bedroom. When you live in a NYC apartment, you have to get creative with your space! I dream of one day having a designated studio, but for now, this arrangement works out really well for me. My favorite things about my workspace are the windows. I get tons of natural light which I love.

COFTA-Christine-Joy-5Do you have any tips to streamline / delegate / outsource household and childcare activities so that you can focus more time on your art? Has your lifestyle changed in any major ways?

Yes! I am fortunate enough to be able to dedicate two full days (and some post bed-time evenings) to my business. I think that if you are able to get assistance with household chores and/or childcare, whether you hire assistance or have family willing to help nearby, you definitely should! At first I dealt with some guilt around this but have since embraced it. Having some time to be creative and think about ways to promote and market my business is more than worth it. It will go nowhere if you don’t dedicate the time. Also, having time to work on my interests definitely improves my mood and just makes me happier overall. For me, creating is my form of stress relief. It’s needed and I am so happy that I can dedicate some of my time to that. COFTA-Christine-Joy-1

Do you have any big goals or dreams for your art that you’d like to share? What would be your dream project?

One of my big goals recently came true! I have always dreamed of seeing work I’ve created in some of my favorite home goods stores. So recently I was floored when I learned that one of my favorite home goods retailers, West Elm, selected eight of my paintings to add to their wall art assortment. I competed in the Minted x West Elm art challenge and West Elm selected my work. The pieces are now online and should be in store soon. It has literally been a dream come true.

I’d love to continue to partner with them and other home goods brands. I also want to begin developing some of my own products in the coming months as well so I see that as a huge goal. Manufacturing is no small undertaking so I’ve been doing lots of research and weighing the pros and cons. COFTA-Christine-Joy-7


Reading about the goals that Chris accomplished and the ones she’s aiming for next are so inspiring. I can’t wait to see what she does next! Thank you again for sharing with us.

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