Joyce Pensato (NYC special episode)

This special episode of Talk Art is an interview with the late, great, legendary artist Joyce Pensato. Joyce was one of Russell & Robert’s favourite painters, who in recent years became a close friend to both. We were honoured to be invited by Joyce to visit her in New York on 28th May 2019 to record what became her last interview. We discuss growing up in Brooklyn, the encouragement of her father (an outsider artist who often made her toys), her love of German Expressionism in her teens but also Gauguin and Van Gogh, of whom she made a clay sculpture of which she would carry on the subway to show people. Joyce explains how Hollywood movies & pop culture had a lasting impact on her work, her love of Coney Island, meeting fellow painter Christopher Wool, painting with black & white enamel paint, how Christopher’s father Ira Wool became the first champion and collector of her paintings followed by exhibitions in Paris and further support from French collectors.

She discusses a recent sculpture inspired by Big Ang (the US mafia “Mob moll” and reality TV star), her love of the movie Rocky and how Sylvester Stallone began collecting her work, why she had a nickname of ‘The Eraser’, her beloved dog Charlie, her key 1970s mentors & painting teachers Mercedes Matter and Joan Mitchell, how Thea Westreich championed her work in the 80s, her love of the works of Georg Grosz, Edvard Munch and Francis Bacon.

We also chat with artist Elizabeth Ferry who ran Joyce’s studio for the past ten years and hear how they became known collectively as The Fizz & The Cucumber!!! Joyce set up the ‘Joyce Pensato Foundation’ to support future generations of young artists. For images of images discussed in this episode visit Instagram @talkart and @joycepensato. We love you Joyce! The Fizz is fizzing!!

“I feel like I’m in the painting. We are one. I totally love to be physical. It’s in me.” Joyce Pensato, 1941-2019.


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