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Biography of Joyce Crowley
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Joyce was born in the Missouri River town of Brownville, Nebraska. Her mother was a teacher on a Wyoming ranch and her father was a riverboat pilot. They traveled the rivers from Illinois, south to Texas. This nomadic life of “river rats” moving 50 times by first grade, impacted her life and interest in nature.

Omaha/Florence, NE was home during WWII, while her father served in the Maritime Service in Canada and Alaska and through the 40's. Joyce received the first taste of art in classes at the Jocelyn Memorial Museum, Omaha, NE.

1950 the family moved to a farm in NW MO. After high school graduation in 1954 with no further art and only natural talent, Joyce was hired by Hallmark Cards Inc. as a creative layout design artist for two years, followed by 6 years of freelancing for Hallmark, and later American Greetings, and Gibson. She went on to major in art and minor in music at NWMSU. She married her high school sweetheart, Bill.

Joyce sailed to Europe where she continued to freelance with Hallmark, taking art classes, visiting the 1958 Brussels, Belgium, Worlds Fair. Then on to Paris to tour the Louvre Museum to view the great work of the Masters.

Upon completion of Bill’s service obligation they returned to the US to raise their family. They moved to Springfield, MO for further education. In what Joyce views as pivotal she took courses at the Springfield Art Museum with artist in residence, Bob Johnson - a rare art teacher who could produce the fine art and teach without holding back. The design and painting techniques in watercolor and new acrylics he taught, opened the floodgates of creative inspiration. He suggested “sand glued to a surface catches light”. As a Hallmark artist, Joyce was always experimenting and embossing her designs, and was always intrigued by bas-relief in architecture. She began experimenting with acrylics and Missouri River bottom sand, sculptured in layering technique. This simple, self-taught process has evolved into totally unique original medium of expression. The sophisticated color and design produces a delicate yet powerful wall sculpture, she named ‘Sculptured Painting’.

Returning to Missouri she introduced her watercolor and sculptured painting in 1968 at the notable national Plaza Art Fair in Kansas City, MO. The art community has accepted the media enthusiastically, and that led her to drop her very successful watercolor work in the mid 1980's to concentrate on the bas-relief sculpture. She wanted to see how far the media she created could be pushed, exploring and expanding its application. Contemporary/Abstract sculptured designs are a natural in this medium and the focus of earliest work.

Ultimately, living on a beautiful farm in NW Missouri, Joyce’s love and concern for nature and wildlife, worked its way into the experiment. Red-tailed hawks that soared over the farm were the first life-sized, out of frame wildlife sculpture. These wildlife sculptures captured the essence and character of these creatures, life sized they convey the power. The ability to place the sculptured animals in a setting of their habitat, creating a mood or scenario, is unique to her media.

A special invitation to exhibit at the Southeastern Wildlife Expo in Charleston, SC at the SC Society Hall called Something Wild encouraged an art dealer to describe the work as “sculptured tapestries”. Branching out from midwest art shows, Joyce accepted invitations to the Far Western Art Show at Caesar’s Palace in LV, Death Valley '49ers, and Palm Springs in the 1980's. Through a friendship with Northern Cheyenne Chief, Jerome Bushyhead, who managed Native American dancers, she started doing his art shows in Oklahoma, and has been doing Native American dancers in ceremonial dance. This work incorporates all skills; portrait, watercolor, wildlife, sculpture, and good design.

Joyce has stopped her Art to design and help build/ remodel homes, including designing their log home the family built themselves, in MO, and helping a major redesign of a church for a year, these were positive and challenging times. She admits to being a frustrated architect and had she known that women could be architects in the 1950's that is where her talents would have been directed.

The Joyce Crowley Art Studio was moved to Montana in 1998 after Bill’s retirement. He has been her partner, making the challenging frames driving to and helping set up exhibits for 38 years. They will celebrate their 50th anniversary this year. They are thankful to reach that point, as they had their first wreck in the 38 years of traveling all over the country. They totaled their Expedition and 8 foot trailer after hitting black ice on I-15, rolling over 3 times and landing upside down. Seat belts saved them, and testimony to the sculptures durability, no Sculptured Paintings were damaged. The show went on, with a U-Haul, remnants of materials, art and bruised occupants to the 2004 NFR show in Las Vegas. This has caused Joyce to attack “unfinished business” such as this website, and searching for a permanent public home for the Historic Chief Joseph wall sculpture and other large collectible sculptures.

After 14 years of participating in the Contway show, during the C. M. Russell Days, Joyce found through a newly discovered cousin, John Bascom (who was honoring his father at the NFR show, Earl Bascom, sculptor, of Rodeo Hall of Fame), that she was a distant cousin of western artists: Charles Russell and Frederick Remington; as well as the historic landscape architect, Frederick Olmstead, (designer of Central Park). This revelation has given Joyce insight into her drive to create, and being drawn to Montana, western art, nature and architecture. This heritage is a dynasty of artists, architects and engineers.

Galleries in Kansas City, MO; Wichita, KS; Sioux Falls, SD; Whitefish, MT; Chateau Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada; Big Fork, MT and Las Vegas, NV had carried her work. Top Sedona, AZ galleries: El Mundo Magico and the Agnisiuh have carried her work for 15 years.

Juried Shows include:

  • Wichita Art Show
  • Tulsa, OK Wildlife
  • Westport Art Show
  • Brookside Art Show
  • Safari International
  • Western Reflections
  • Cottonwood Art Show
  • Far Western Art Show
  • Queeny Park Art Show
  • Prairie Village Art Fair
  • St. Louis Zoo Art Show
  • Ponca City, OK Art Show
  • National Ducks Unlimited
  • OCCA - Oklahoma City, OK
  • Southeastern Wildlife Expo
  • Spokane Western Art Show
  • '49ers Death Valley Art Show
  • Sugarloaf Mountain Craft Show
  • Plaza Art Fair - Kansas City, MO
  • Ward Parkway Mid-Winter Art Show
  • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Show
  • Jay Contway and Friends - C M Russell Days
  • Texas Indian Market and Southwest Showcase
  • Colorado Indian Market & Southwest Showcase
  • NFR - National Finals Rodeo Cowboy Christmas
  • Kansas City Indian Market and Southwest Showcase
  • Montana Spirit of the Arts - Awarded Best of Show & People’s Choice

Joyce has won numerous top awards at many of these show. Her work can also be seen in many private, professional and corporate collections including:

  • Kansas Board of Education
  • Lawson Bank - Lawson, MO
  • Favell Museum, Klamath Falls, OR
  • Bayvet Corporation - Leawood, KS
  • Budweiser Distributor - Fremont, KS
  • First National Bank - Ponca City, OK
  • Mobay Corporation - Kansas City, MO
  • C B Display Service, Inc. - Las Vegas, NV
  • National Envelope Corporation - Lenexa, KS
  • Integral Construction Inc. - Kansas City, MO
  • Ponca City Methodist Church - Ponca City, OK
  • Stoeffer Inn, Five Seasons Hotel - Cedar Rapids, IA
  • and many other private collections in the US and Canada.

Go to our Commissions page to view some of those pieces.

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