Brian Joyce: An Artist, a Scholar, an Irishman... and Homeless
“The plans of the penniless must be -- and can afford to be -- flexible." Impeccably dressed and chronically cheerful, Brian Joyce, a Boston-area artist, comes by this observation honestly.
Artistically gifted and possessing contagious curiosity, Joyce has traveled -- and been homeless -- throughout much of the country. He refers to his works of art as “three-dimensional expressions of a primarily two-dimensional artist.”
Joyce’s intense passion for life and his love of all things creative shines in every inch of his tiny Lynn studio, which, sadly, he is in the process of vacating. His crystal glass renderings, portrait paintings, architectural drawings, and sculptures crafted from recycled materials fill the studio with energy.
The same energy infuses Joyce’s words and emerges through his wit; he loves a good story and a rich joke -- a trait for which he credits his ancestors. “My mother's family is from Cork (Ireland) and my father's is from Galway, Connemara, ‘Joyce’ country!” he laughs.
Joyce’s thirst for knowledge is evident in the books crammed into his studio space. Maps, trees, birds, art, botanicals, foreign languages and philosophy are among the subject matter best represented in Joyce’s library. He credits his love of reading for giving him “the skill for upsetting the most commonly accepted errors in shared American thinking.”
Technically, Joyce has not actually been homeless recently; a small corner of his art studio has served as a makeshift bedroom. His ownership of a warm, heavy topcoat and a thick woolen blanket make him luckier than many others who share his lot.
Bret, for example, a self-proclaimed “homeless artist” who paints and writes poetry, occasionally catches a good night’s sleep on various friends’ couches. Christina, a wood worker, has no home of her own, but stays with her son in a friend’s apartment. She lives with the unsettling knowledge that she and her son could be asked to leave at any time, but says that it beats their former living arrangements -- in an attic with no heat or running water. She no longer has room for her wood or tools. She sometimes uses her knife to whittle branches she finds on the streets.
Brian Joyce’s recent generous donation of a glass sculpture to a local fundraiser -- a benefit for the INTERACT Band show at Swampscott High School on March 17 -- belies his circumstances while reflecting his spirit. It was this spirit, as well as his tremendous talent, that caught the eye of greenlifesavor in 2009.
Greenlifesavor provides innovative products for everyday life, bringing together resources in the community, such as natural resources, recycled materials, manmade products, human resources, and ideas. Many local artists have a knack for creating masterpieces our of local resources and greenlifesavor likes to promote talents such as Brian Joyce’s.
Packing up his artwork for storage in his sister’s basement, Joyce muses that while his next address is uncertain, he sees adventure ahead: “I have a rough plan in mind involving bicycle traveling and drawing between New Hampshire and Rhode Island.”
Watch a video of Brian