SJ Boyd


Project 1612: How would you describe the art you make?

SJ: Narrative Figurative: I feel all human beings art hard wired to have an emotional response to the images of other human beings. The mind strives to create a comfort zone by comparing an image with its perceptions that are developed in the “Nature” aspect of nature/nurture, that our egos and identity are developed from. With that comparison a story or narrative is born. My work also takes a lean toward Neo-Surrealism. Sometimes whimsical and sometimes taking a slightly dark or dreamlike turn. Either way, I strive to start a story and leave it up to the viewer to take it the rest of the way.

Project 1612: When did you start taking yourself seriously as an artist?

SJ: Good questions. I vividly remember being surrounded by old office papers covered with a five year olds masterpieces, in my grandparents living room, and proclaiming that I was going to be an artist. Maybe it was then. No matter what direction life has taken me, my inner foundation has always been art. I’ve been in many different studios of the years but with my recent retirement from the “Real World,” I have made it a priority to focus on being a full time artist. Heck, maybe its just now I have finally truly taken myself seriously.


Project 1612: What drives your practice?

SJ: Dreams. I receive images through them and it’s like I have been charged with the responsibly to bring it to life. Some images will stay with me for years until I find the appropriate medium to tell the story. Then on to the next dream and story to be told.

Project 1612: What problems do you face in the studio? How do you overcome them?

SJ: Time management due to a never ending flux of ideas flooding my mind. When I come close to completion of a piece I find myself wanting to move onto the next story. Making it difficult to manage my time efficiently, because sometimes I start on the next one. I overcome this with plain old work ethic. Head down and get it done. An unfinished piece doesn’t speak.


Project 1612: What is your current body of work about?

SJ: Currently, I have focused on large scale pieces. The stories vary but the scale seems to be the drive. It carries a whimsical tone or a subtle social or spiritual reference.

Project 1612: How important are your reference images to the final pieces?

SJ: References are extremely important, since I am a studio painter primarily. I mix and match images that I have photographed with antique photos or even bits of magazine references. I pick our one small piece from a shot and use it to complete my stories.

Project 1612: Besides painting, what other mediums do you work in?

SJ: Graphite and charcoal and colored pencil. I was deeply involved with black and white photography years ago, so I love to create drawings that are in gray tones. Colored pencil is like painting to me, so I love the challenges it brings me. I also sculpt in oil based clay and currently have plans to create a large public piece to be cast in bronze.

Project 1612: How long has your studio been at The Mill?

SJ: I have been in The Mill for the past couple years and have been truly blessed with an incredible space. I have been many places in the area over the years and I feel I have hit a real groove in this studio.

Project 1612: Do you have anything coming up we should know about?

SJ: At this point, I am compiling a large body of work in preparation of a solo show at the Peoria Public Library in downtown Peoria, IL in July of 2019. It’s a space traditionally used for group shows, so I am needing enough work to look like a group but its all on me. There are a couple group shows I may participate in, the one that is the closest is the Emerging Artist Show in February of 2019.

Project 1612: What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

SJ: My advice to all artists is, if the muse has chosen you and you have excepted the call, do so with all of your soul. There will be situations and people that will do their best to direct you away from the callings. If an artist is younger and starting out keep in mind you have the resilience to preserve and by the time one finds themselves at my age they will have lived a good life and probably also created a financially sound like. The good life is probably most important though. Art is business, so work at what you love and it won’t seem like work. You just LIVBIG.

Project 1612: What are your thoughts on the art community in Central IL?

SJ: The art community of Central IL has become the poster child for how a grassroots movement and the wealth of talented artists can get things done. The only thing we are missing right now is a legitimate gallery space to represent all of those talents. This area has so many master level artists that it more than rivals the large metropolitan areas of this country. And the rest of the country is just getting their first look at what Central IL has to offer. There are many, many good souls creating here. I think the world needs to look out for all of us!


SJ Boyd is an artist working in Peoria, IL. More of his work can be found on here