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Studio update from MFA alum MJ Sharp, January 2021

January 4, 2021

Greetings! Along with best wishes for 2021, I wanted to send along a few quick updates.

1) The wonderful lecture by Michele Frederick about curating the Reflections on Light show on view now (and also virtually) at the North Carolina Museum of Art is available on the museum’s youtube channel. She gives a great behind-the-scenes look at how the museum came to produce this particular show but also how museums produce shows more generally.

2) The Studio Store is newly updated and at the moment is a bit of a memory lane of images. With few exceptions, these images have not been out in the world, and they are not part of any previous editioned set of prints. As I’ve been reorganizing the studio, my flat files have been yielding many different types of prints from a wide range of eras.  I’m enjoying rediscovering these prints as I prepare to convert my studio to a giant darkroom (some 5×7 and 8×10 black and white negatives I want to play with).  I’ll probably have another round of prints to list before everything goes dark for a while starting around January 18th, which not coincidentally, is when our spring semester begins at Duke 😀.

Again, best wishes for 2021—


MJ Sharp | | Reflections on Light: Works from the NCMA Collection

BFA Alumna Ayla Gizlice exhibition at Anchorlight

December 14, 2020

Brightwork Series presents: Çukurova Plain by Ayla Gizlice

Thursday, November 5 – Sunday, December 20

Ayla Gizlice is a Turkish-American artist born in Raleigh. Çukurova Plain examines presentations of Osmaniye, her father’s hometown, in her own American one. The work serves as an introduction to this space apart from the tension that is electrified by current events and media portrayals. The space has been set aside as a respite from this tension, using humor and reflection to subvert the stereotypical American narrative of Middle Eastern life and landscape.

Viewing by appointment only.

MFA Candidate Krysta Sa receives 2020 CES research award

December 14, 2020

Congratulations to MFA candidate Krysta Sa, who has received The Center for European Studies 2021 Jean Monnet Center of Excellence EU Research Award for her project “Ancestral Soak: Sea Bathing in the European Union.”

Studio update from MFA alum MJ Sharp, November 2020

November 30, 2020

Greetings! I know it’s been a while. I’ve succumbed to the lure of updating folks via twitter and instagram (those tempting links are at the very bottom), but here is some recent news all in one place and only slightly longer than a short novella.

Firstly I’m tickled that Outside Amarillo is on view now as part of Reflections on Light at the North Carolina Museum of Art.  Through February 14th, 2021. The museum is allowing timed entry Wed-Sun with masks and distancing.  More information about visiting safely is on their website.

Reflections on Light: Works from the NCMA Collection: Featuring objects from 16 countries and spanning more than 2,500 years of art history, Reflections on Light: Works from the NCMA Collection celebrates the diverse collections of the North Carolina Museum of Art. Bringing together artworks from different cultures, continents, and histories, Reflections on Light showcases how artists from many eras—from ancient Guatemala to 20th-century Ghana—responded to, used, and revered light.

In other news, I’ve followed my good friend and potter Matt Hallyburton ( into the world of having an online studio store presence.  A picture I made recently that screamed, “Make me into a holiday card!” meant that I had to really hustle to get the store ready to go in time.  It’s turned out to be real pleasure to configure the store, and it’s been a great excuse to pull together some personal favorites.  Give it a look, and if you are thinking you might write holiday cards this year for the first time in a decade, well, nothing says the holidays like a big box lid full of cherry tomatoes in various stages of ripeness.

I’m also excited about the very latest work I’ve been up to—this summer and fall I’ve been shooting with a panoramic view camera as well as 4×5, 5×7, and 8×10 formats.  Some of that work is at the link below (and with any luck, it’s a little bit mobile-friendly).  I enjoyed a slice of one of the new photos (Tomato Proscenium) as my phone lock screen so much that I made an actual little image file that you’re welcome to right-click and download to use as your phone wallpaper. That’s the second link. Fair warning, I like to keep my phone screen really cleared off (as opposed to my frighteningly crowded office/studio in real life). If you’ve got a million icons on your phone screen, you may want to stick to your phone-supplied color or texture.

Wishing you a safe, happy, and restorative holiday season!

MJ Sharp | |

MJ on twitter

MJ on Instagram

Studio Update from Alumna Joy Meyer

October 22, 2020

Hello Friend  

It has been a while since I have written to you but I am thrilled to announce today my new teaching project. I hope you will consider joining me on this new journey. 

New Course: Intuitive Painting

This is a contemporary watercolor course which allows you to paint when you have the time or energy. It is a go-at-your-own-pace, playful but relaxing, approach to painting. This will help you begin or loosen up existing practice. This is completely virtual and portable course.

This course has beginners in mind and the assignments require no previous drawing or painting skills. We will spend most of our time working in abstraction. This class is also perfect for those who have stopped painting but want to get back into the studio. 

  • Five Modules include: video lectures, demonstrations, material information, sketchbook prompts, activities, and imagination starters. 
  • You will finish this course with some work you can proudly share or hang on your wall. 
  • Learn helpful techniques to shift your mindset to become more gentle with your painter-self. 
  • We will cover topics such as: line, shape, texture, space, depth, and composition but in a new and fresh way that will not intimidate you. 
  • Instructor is available for office hours for feedback and you are invited to a monthly painting meeting to share your work. 

Enrollment will be very limited to ensure you get the attention you need on your journey. Pre-registration for course opens today! This course will become available as a complete set of the modules described above opens December 05, 2020. Introductory price of $149.00 gives you access to the course for one full year. 

Click the blue button below to pre-register. It will open a Google form. 

Click Here!

I have listened to your comments and designed the perfect signature course for stress free painting! 

Many of you have sent me questions by email, text, DM, and in the comments section of my videos I have been posting on instagram and youtube. I have used this data to build the perfect course for our current time. Using my combined experience teaching college and at a community art center, I address the main blocks to creativity in painting. I have also considered my own journey as a self-taught painter before I entered art school. 

Do any of these apply to you? 

Do you want to paint but don’t know where to start? 

Are you curious about abstraction but don’t know what “the  rules” are or how to apply them? 

Do you feel stuck or stressed out when you try to paint? 

Do you want to paint but need to feel more connected to others who are painting? Are you looking for more connection with your creativity? 

Are you a surface designer or a UX/UI designer who wants to learn to use more analog methods? Or maybe do you just a break from the screen? 

Have you been teaching yourself with workshops and YouTube but it feels disconnected? Do you need a curated collection of tutorials in an order that flows and makes sense? 
I have helped all of these types of people to loosen up and develop a painting practice. This method can fit into your busy life and infuse it with a new sense of creativity. Because of these successes my students have produced, I am confident I can help you with your painting goals or with finding a peaceful way to enjoy your paints you’ve been saving to use someday. 

Studio News: My Work is now on BOOOOOOOM! 

Booooooom! is Canada’s largest art blog. I am completely stoked that you can now see some of my work over on this incredible site. Check it out by clicking here: joy tirade profile


If you are new here or want to know more about my story here is a brief introduction. 

My name is Joy and I use the artist name joy tirade which is an old riot grrrl, punk name someone gave me in the 1990s. I have a bunch of new friends on here so I thought I’d introduce myself. 

My first major introduction to Fine Art was in Houston. It was the year 2001 and I was visiting a friend’s family for the holidays. I went to Museum of Fine Arts and encountered the James Turrell piece called, The Light Inside. This is a light installation in a narrow passageway between two galleries at the Houston Museum of Fine Art. I stood inside the installation for ages, and watched the light ebb from magenta, to violet, to blue.

This magical light pulsed and fell into tempo with my heartbeat and my breath. I became obsessed with art after that moment. It was like falling in love for the first time. I taught myself to paint that year. I had friends that were in art school so I spent a lot of time with them listening to them discussing technique and theory. We had art nights at my big house in Boulder and all of us made work of some kind. I wouldn’t enter art school for a few more years. Eventually, I left San Francisco to attend school in Virginia and completed a degree in Art and Art History from University of Virginia. I am the first in my family to graduate and I was granted entrance into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. My grandmother flew up by herself to watch me walk the lawn.  After a few years I went on to get an MFA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After this I taught Studio Art Courses in a few colleges on the east coast for a several years before relocating my studio to Oakland, California. 

My practice combines painting, experimental video, intermedia, writing, and zine making. In all of my work I am asking questions which explore the qualities and properties of human longing and love. My work also contains a lot of research into phenomenology (the study of the nature of being), technology, and feminism. More at

It is very nice to meet you. 

Congratulations on making it to the end of this newsletter! 

Until we meet again remember to keep your heart open and a brush in your hand. 

joy tirade 

#GDTBATH features Studio Art Major Rida Bayraktar

October 20, 2020

Determined to level the playing field for young girls, sophomore Rida Bayraktar founded Pink STREAM as a high school student. The organization works to educate, motivate, empower and inspire kindergarten through eighth-grade girls in science, technology, robotics, engineering, arts and math.

Pink STREAM began by offering free classes to girls at community centers throughout the Triangle area. Now, a little over two years later, Bayraktar and the Pink STREAM team have led courses for more than 900 girls on topics like coding, robotics and 3D printing.

Read more about it here:

Camino UNC Study Abroad Info Session October 22

October 20, 2020

Does an artistic hike across Spain sound like a great way to spend your summer in 2021? 

Come join us Thursday, October 22nd from 5:40pm–6:00pm over Zoom as part o Study Abroad Week 2020for a brief info session about The Department of Art + Art History’s Art on the Camino de Santiago Study Abroad program — walking an ancient pilgrimage path across Northern Spain. Professors Pérez-Méndez and Marzán will walk you through the experience and the courses they’ve developed for this UNC Faculty-Led Study Abroad. The program runs in the Summer and earns you 6 credit hours in Studio Art. You can count these courses toward your minor or major, Experiential Education or Visual + Performing Arts general education requirements.

Register to attend the session HERE:

Are you intrigued about the opportunity but need to hear about it in more detail? Curious about how to make this happen? Or perhaps would like to hear about the logistics of walking across Spain with nothing but what you carry on your back?  Come to the info session for this special  presentation. What should I expect along this hike? Come hear about the towns you will walk through and the places we’ll stay. Learn about the culture and history of the Camino de Santiago and hear about the artistic adventures that await you in Summer 2021!

Applications for Camino UNC Study Abroad begin early this year! So come and find out what is required to be able to go! Explore Spain with us this summer!

All are welcome– hope to see you there!
Graphic for Camino UNC Study Abroad Info Session October 22

MFA student Hugo Ljungbaeck participating in 2 upcoming online events

October 5, 2020

Check out what our new MFA student Hugo Ljungbäck is doing with his semester. Hugo will have presentations as part of the two following upcoming events:

Carolina Queer MiniCon, October 9-13, 2020

Carolina’s first Queer MiniCon to showcase LGBTQIA+ research, art, and lived experience as part of National Coming Out Day 2020.

Keynote address on Queering Intimacy in Hip-Hop Culture to be delivered by Assistant Professor Antonia Randolph, Ph.D.

The UNC-Chapel Hill LGBTQ Center has partnered with Sexuality Studies and Honors Carolina Pride to host Queer MiniCon. QMC will be two days of online presentations, scheduled for October 9th and 13th, during Carolina’s ten-day observance of National Coming Out Day from October 6th to 16th. Dr. Antonia Randolph, Assistant Professor in the Department of American Studies, will present the keynote address. Presentations will be open to the public via

In its first iteration, Queer MiniCon will feature seventeen presentations chosen by representatives from sponsoring UNC-Chapel Hill departments on LGBTQIA+ affirming research, lived experiences, passion projects, and creative expression. UNC System students, faculty, staff, and postdocs will queer,(that is to say, deconstruct or question assumptions around) everything from social network mapping technologies, in Katelyn Campbell’s “Lesbian Connections: Critical Social Network Mapping and Queer Archival Methods;” to self-perception and dream environments in Sergio Jiminez’s “blue-light-being;” and conventional ideas about masculinity within both dominant and Black culture in Antonia Randolph’s keynote “Wayne Loves Baby: Queering Intimacy in Hip-Hop Culture.”

QMC Presentations At a Glance

  • What is it with Queer People and Cryptids? – Oliver Cope, Undergraduate student in Biology and Anthropology
  • Creating a Welcoming Space for LGBTQ Persons and Families at End of Life – JoAn Stanek, Assistant Professor at School of Nursing
  • Mindful Self-Compassion for Transgender or Gender Expansive Teens – Melissa Clepper-Faith, Pediatrician and MPH student at Gillings
  • Transnational Approaches to Transgender Studies – Rachel Warner, Ph.D. candidate and Teaching Fellow in English and Comparative Literature
  • Wayne Loves Baby: Queering Intimacy in Hip-Hop Culture – Antonia Randolph, Assistant Professor in American Studies
  • Lesbian Connections: Critical Social Network Mapping and Queer Archival Methods – Katelyn Campbell, Ph.D. student in American Studies
  • Dear Mom: A Quick Look into Cryptids, Growing Up, and Gender – Kaidyn Radford, activist, artist, and Undergraduate student in Communication Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies
  • blue-light-being – Sergio Jiminez, Undergraduate student in Studio Art and Anthropology
  • Just Mates? The Reality of Pirate Relations in the ‘Golden Age’ – Nikalus Ward, Undergraduate student at Carolina
  • Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer, People of Color in Mental Health Services and Substances Abuse Services: A Systematic Review – Hayden Dawes, LCSW, LCAS, Ph.D. student at School of Social Work
  • Flipping the Script: Situating the Pink Triangle in Gay History – Dani Puccio, Undergraduate student in Communication Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies
  • Best Friends Forever: Young Girls’ Media and a Sapphic Sensibility – A Cook, Undergraduate student in Communication Studies
  • Bad Feelings – Hugo Ljungbäck, MFA candidate in Studio Art
  • Queering Punk: Queercore 101 – Ashton Thorne, Undergraduate student in Psychology and Philosophy
  • Disentangling the Differential Impacts of Stress on Risk-taking Behavior in Sexual and Gender Minority Youth – Curtis Smith, Undergraduate student and researcher in Psychology
  • The Heterosexual Matrix – Elliot Kimball, Assistant Director of Intercultural Engagement, LGBTQ+ Outreach and Advocacy at UNC Greensboro
  • Space Husbands: What I’ve Learned from Kirk/Spock Fanfic – April Callis, Assistant Director of LGBTQ Center at UNC-Chapel Hill

“Postcolonial Film and the Archive: History, Theory, Practice,” a free, online symposium next Friday, October 16 (10 am Pacific / 1 pm Eastern / 7 pm Central European)

Bringing together scholars to examine media from across the globe, this event will explore the historical, cultural, and political value and use of colonial and ethnographic films in connection to cultural heritage, preservation, and appropriation. From reexamining the ways in which archives and their materials are mobilized to tell certain narratives and not others, and the complexity of preserving and researching these materials in varying contexts, to interrogating the ontological and indexical status of film as memory artifacts, this symposium will raise questions about cultural heritage, ownership, historiography, and gaps and exclusions in classical film history approaches to the study of “postcolonial” film.

Register here to receive the Zoom link:

More information:

Participants: Jennifer Blaylock (Oberlin), Nadine Chan (Claremont), Alison Griffiths (Baruch), Brian Hochman (Georgetown), Grazia Ingravalle (Brunel), Hugo Ljungbäck (Chapel Hill), Rochona Majumdar (Chicago), Nadi Tofighian (Stockholm), Anna Westerståhl Stenport (Georgia Tech)