Call me Joyce: Artist Juno Calypso’s Alter-Ego in Her Project
English artist Juno Calypso used the help of her imaginary friend to ironically take a look at herself and at selfie culture.
Creating Joyce was sort of decided for me. The practice was always there but it was like I was waiting for permission to show it. I have always taken pictures of myself in private. I was used to experimenting with photography and myself, but when it came to my ‘serious’ work – I’d only use models or friends.
I was 19 and all I wanted was to make perfect pictures of perfect girls. Before these glamour shoots I’d always use myself as a stand-in model to test things out alone.
Every week at university we had to bring in new work and one week I had nothing to show except these shots of me acting like a fool. The tutorials were usually sharp and serious but my tutor just burst out laughing. She was the one who urged me to carry on with it. And so I did.
The goal in creating Joyce was to bring the scenes in my head to life. She’s a fictional character without a story. There’s purposefully no background details, no biography. I prefer to leave that up to the audience to imagine.
At first I thought wanted to work with models! Everyone just found it funnier when I was the one in the photo, and I like to make people laugh so that’s the way it’s turned out.
I’ve been taking pictures of myself for so long that I don’t associate the work with the current conversation on selfie culture. Not that I look down on it, I love it, but it just seems like people have just given a name to something that has existed for so long, and used it to fill magazine pages.
But I like to look at the entire history and practice, rather than just focus on what people are doing with their phone right now.
Films like Abigail’s Party, Women on The Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, The Shining and Edward Scissorhands were big influences. The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf, Femininity by Susan Brownmiller and Female Desire by Rosalind Coward were all very influential books at the start of the project. And, of course, the Internet is my constant source of inspiration.