The Power of #Emotion by Jill Joy

I’ve been thinking today about the power of emotion and how important emotional connection is both with ourselves and each other. If we cut ourselves off  from our emotions we are dead. Dead to feeling what we feel, dead to sensing the feelings of others. Empathy dies and the world becomes a more violent place. 

 This line of thought led me back to one of the essential functions of artists: reconnecting the world to emotion. We are the conduits for getting people back to themselves, to experiencing their feelings which allows them to treat themselves with sensitivity and thus treat others with sensitivity. This makes the world a better, richer, more compassionate, more beautiful place.



When we sensitize ourselves in this world we risk being overwhelmed. How can you buy clothes that were manufactured by small children in Bangladesh on starvation wages? If you think about it when you buy, it it’s incredibly difficult. Trying to source an entire life in a non-violent manner is nearly impossible.

I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to be a vegetarian. Because my body does not do well on a largely carb-based diet, it doesn't work for me. So giving up, this morning at a neighborhood restaurant I ordered something I would normally - an omelet. On my plate in addition to eggs were ham, cheese and a side of potatoes. As I sat there looking at the plate I thought about the poor pigs who are as intelligent as my dog and what kind of life they might’ve had and then I thought about the migrant workers who might have dug the potatoes out of the ground and I wondered about the kind of life they had. I could go on thinking about the cows tied to milking machines all day. Then I found myself almost in tears over breakfast. I realized, in a truly compassionate, higher vibration world, my breakfast would not be a plate of violence. 


Ruth Bader Ginsburg reminds us that even though we are in a backslide politically, things are better than they used to be when it was legislated that women could be paid less than men and African-Americans could be legally discriminated against. These things still happen, but at least the laws have changed. So even though we still don’t live in an emotional, compassionate world, there is progress.

That’s where we as artists come in. To speed the progress. To allow people to connect with their emotions so that they become empathetic and treat animals, children and the more vulnerable populations with dignity and care. Because when we treat ourselves with dignity and care we are able to extend that out to others. So while I can’t be a full-on vegetarian or vegan at this point, I have stopped eating cows which makes me feel slightly better.

Jill Joy w Thwarted Desire  - oil on canvas - 48x48 - Emotion Exhibition Oct 2016 Color Cropped.jpg

So in a time where we have a more brutal administration than I ever imagined in my lifetime and compassion and human dignity are short on the ground, our role as artists is more important than ever. 

Personally, I am beginning to understand the power and necessity of having emotional connections in all of my relationships: business, friends, family, lovers, neighbors, even strangers. There is the opportunity to make a connection. Without it the relationships are dry, hollow, self-interested and ultimately destructive.


Devotion by Jill Joy

                Jill Joy -  Devotion  - oil on canvas - 60x48" - 2014


             Jill Joy - Devotion - oil on canvas - 60x48" - 2014

This painting, Devotion, is about spiritual devotion and also plain old human love…loving someone intensely and how our devotion to that person can transform us regardless of the circumstances. It’s part of my current series, Consciousness, but also a subset of work I call Evolution – 4 or 5 paintings that represent the leap from one level of consciousness to the next. The Evolution works are dynamic and give a sense of bursting into growth and new awareness. They are loosely tied to the chakras (energy centers in our body), indigo is the color of the 6th chakra and violet is the color of the crown or 7th chakra. This painting is somewhere in between those two…a deep violet or purple indigo representing the transition from one level of consciousness to the next. Some info below on the symbolism of the colors and the Chakras (citation).

Indigo – 6th Chakra (third eye)

Indigo opens the door to the Divine and it is the color that we associate with night. It is at night, when our senses become finer and a different part of us awakens. Indigo brings clarity to the sense organs - your seeing, hearing and feeling. Indigo It is also connected to your sixth sense - your third eye.

Indigo is a bridge between heaven and earth, between the left and right hemispheres and also between life and death and helps to make a transition towards life or towards death. Indigo color energy is an energy of deep change. It allows you to transform the energies of lower chakras into higher spiritual vibrations. You must be cautious though, because you can become ungrounded and disconnected with the life on earth and with your family and friends. As you unfold the petals of your third eye chakra, you begin to recognize patterns. You can see where you have been, where you are stuck, and where you are going.

You begin to experience those "Aha" moments. Moments of insight and clarity. You are recognizing your patterns and are able to relate everything to a larger picture and what it means. Illusions are shattered and dreams are integrated. You begin to experience wholeness and sense of tranquility and inner knowing - wisdom. You begin to see that you can consciously create your life. And that your vision for the future is a creative act of will.

Violet – 7th Chakra (crown (top) of the head)

Violet connects with sadness of letting go and also with joy of transformation. There is peace and tranquility in the new found knowledge of profound change. Violet color is cleansing and purifying. It is the color of magic, ritual, cleansing, purifying, connecting, mystery, and mysticism. It is a color that allows us to glimpse other realities, beyond our physical and material reality of this earthly existence. It is pure cosmic energy.

Violet is a color of reconciliation. Of bringing together polarities - male and female, day and night, hot and cold, heaven and earth, right brain and left brain. In this state of balance, you feel the connection with other beings, with heaven, with earth, with all of Universe. There is no separation, no duality.