Studies in England with a Master weaver, Theological studies at Trinity College, Bristol, a sojourn at the Banff Center, an exchange term in Italy (Medieval art) and, not least, a boring BFA from Calgary, Alberta are the precursors for my residency at the Vancouver Island College of Art.

My visceral response to colour, a talking relationship with wind in the trees and, a mystifying symbiosis with the ocean (from where we all come) become my own muses. My work might stand as metaphor for all these AND – I just love fooling around with materials.

The richness of world travels to places as diverse as Nepal, Israel, Japan and Papua New Guinea established in me a world view and a buoyant, joyful appreciation of our tiny blue planet and it’s inhabitants. – J. Luna

Untitled. 5 x 7'. Painted sculptural canvas, metal wire, found objects ©Joyce Luna
Untitled. 5 x 7′. Painted sculptural canvas, metal wire, found objects ©Joyce Luna

This is my mothers artist statement. Today she turns 78 years young and next week is showing, along with 5 other accomplished artists, some of what I consider to be her most exciting work as an artist to date.

Joyce Luna has always been a force majeure, yet at the same time, she has unleashed that compulsion more like Leonard Cohen than Robert Plant—note by note, poem by poem, in a voice that can quietly bring you to your knees.

Her childlike exploration of the world vis a vis her place in it, never seems to be quelled by fear of failure. Instead, it is the fear of non expression that propels my mother into new worlds and environments where she is often an outlier – the young mother with 6 children, the mid aged artist with a massive talent and a tiny chip on her shoulder, the elder stateswoman who ignores her failing body to seek out other like minds in the search for knowledge and self expression.

I don’t know that Joyce Luna always aspired to be an artist but she certainly aspired to be more than a wife and mother.

And for that I am grateful.

Portrait of my mom
Portrait of my mom

The family home was a living canvas for artistic expression and my most vivid memory growing up was when my mother was working as a textile artist. The giant loom in the corner was a spider that beckoned tiny fingers to its web of pedals, warp and weft. Clouds of marigold infused wool became the landscape outside our panorama of living room windows. Industrious women chattered like birds as they wove the yellow candy cotton into threads of gold.

The accumulation of years has robbed my mother of her physical agility, stripped away her nouns mid sentence and softened her indignation of a world still reigned by gender inequality. But. The accumulation of years has honed her eye, heightened her 6th sense and strengthened her resolve to leave a mark beyond a biological one.

And for that I am grateful.

It’s a Saturday Thing | Aug 28 to Sept 7 | Slide Room Gallery, Vancouver Island College of Art, Victoria | Opening Reception Aug 28th 7 to 9 pm

In October 2012, I drove 6,800 kms with my artist husband, Ric Kokotovich (, and my dog Iggy, to spend 6 months in our adopted city of Merida. Leaving the fast paced world of Calgary behind, I packed my books, art and entrepreneurial spirit, and set off to explore what lay beyond the borders that had become my life. In October 2013 we hit the road south again, hoping to find out what ‘living the dream’ really means. This is my adventure.

11 comments on “A Poetic Wanderer

  1. tammycote

    How beautiful. She is one of a kind.

  2. Oh thank goodness. When the subject line said “mothers’ I had a bit of a panic attack…who else has been your mother’s roommate and managed her B+B for a weekend and shared hangers. When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie .. that’s Joyce Luna. Love. Maddy

  3. Janet Lezberg

    Just beautiful, Alison. I enjoyed every word.

  4. Gerhard E. Gehrmann

    Hello. I had the privilege to know Joyce when I lived in Camore Alberta. She was a beautiful, magical, and inspiring woman and human being. I also had the privilege of living with her at “Luna Lodge” – first in the log house, then in the smaller house next door. Her art was inspiring. Her personality was enlightening. My wife (Maggie) and I often house sat for her, and her dog children Max and Kalo.
    She and I often had inspiring conversions about art, life, politics, love…..
    She will always keep a special place in my heart.

    Gerhard Gehrmann

    • Gerhard, what a lovely response to receive and I will be sure to pass this on to Joyce. She is a ‘beautiful, magical, inspiring woman’ and whenever she stumbles, she turns to her art. Some people have religion and my mom has her art and really, what does it matter as long as it brings us joy, hope and strength. I wonder if I met you during the time you refer to? All the best to you and Maggie…

  5. I met Joyce many many years ago. I owned a coffee shop in Calgary that she frequented regularly on her walk with her two beautiful gold retrievers.
    I’m am so happy to have stumbled across this article. I remember her like it was yesterday. Always so friendly, kind and a joy to sit and have a quick chat with as her fur babies lay on the floor at her feet. She liked her coffee piping hot and her cream heavy. So funny how we remember the small things after so many years. This made me smile !

    • How very cool! Thanks for reading! And can i pass on a hello to Joyce from…? I’m sure it would make HER smile!

    • joyce luna

      Pala! how i do remember the coffee shop and was so grateful you were there. did i bequeath you an abstract painting? I hope so…joyce

  6. Hi Alison, I work at the Walter Philips Gallery at the Banff Centre and and am hoping to get in touch with your Mom, Joyce. Would it be possible for us to be in email touch? Thanks!

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