Artist Interview: Maddie Joyce

Maddie Joyce has a particular charm to her artwork that exsudes her omnipresent love and passion for the ocean. This young British artist is from a small village in East Sussex, which undoubtedly has influenced her artistic style. Following her mother’s footsteps and an artist, Maddie has found herself now living in Santa Barbara, continuing to focus on her art as creative side as well as expanding her collective, The Magic Bus, a community of surfing creatives whom Maddie selects images which they share with her of their travels and adventures…

How did your love for the ocean develop? Did your hometown help influence this passion?

Ever since I can remember I’ve loved the ocean, from playing in the rock pools and sailing in my pa’s sailboat as a kid to our annual trips to the rugged west country. My hometown is a small village behind the south downs, I’m close to the ocean (the English channel) and there are some really beautiful coastal areas where I live, but the clear and cold Atlantic ocean that adorns the North Cornish coastline has been one my biggest influences. I’m now living a stones throw away from Rincon and loving it!

When did your interest for art and photography begin? At what point did you start to pursue them as something more than just a hobby?

I’ve always been interested in art, my mum is an artist and she has taught and encouraged me a lot. I studied graphic design at college and really enjoyed it. It was really practical, and we did a lot of the design by hand and then enhanced and manipulated it on the computer, which really suits me. I’ve always branched more towards illustration, using raw materials rather than straight digital design. I suppose that’s where my interest in photography came from. My dad gave me a bunch of old 35mm cameras he used to shoot with when he was my age. I’ve always preferred film over digital, I love the unpredictability of it and the anticipation for the results.


What would you consider your style of art to be? Which mediums do you enjoy using most?

My style of art I would say is whimsical, feel-good-food for the soul. Art for me is such a release of tension, kind of like meditation I suppose. I can get lost in a creation for hours, I like to draw what makes me feel good inside, so that when I look it afterward it makes me feel content, maybe even peaceful. I hope that’s what it makes other people feel too! I love using really fine bleed resistant pens, fabric and translucent paper the most I think, I’d love to get more into textile based work though.

Your illustrations are pretty neat. They have a sort of simplistic look, but upon further inspection, one can see that extreme detail was adhered to…Can you describe the process in creating one?

My favorite illustrations to create are these little address cards which I’ve called the ‘maps, lines and floral waves’ series. They’re a combination of pen, fine lines, fabric and different papers. I Like how all of the textures work together and how each material represents an element of the scene being created. The transparent paper to me looks like a fine morning mist and the lines in the waves look like wood grain. I usually do a really quick sketch and label the elements and the material I’ll use and then just begin cutting, placing and rearranging the pieces. I like working small too, a lot of people are surprised at how tiny some of the illustrations are.

Do you usually have a good idea of what you want to do before starting a new project, or does your creativity tend to flow from the unconscious?

My projects usually start with a one off creation or idea, then afterwards I’m like ‘that was fun, let’s do another one but this time I’ll use these colors’. Projects or sets of illustrations are fun to do because they all go together well and have a consistency about them which is quite addictive to create. I get a lot of my ideas just before I fall asleep, it’s a time where I’m usually making my brain mentally make things, but I ‘ll be like ‘aha!’ then get out my phone and write it down.

Tell us a little about your blog, “The Magic Bus”.

The magic bus is an online and very real life community of surfers, photographers, artists and happy snapping adventurers around the globe. People submit their photographic tales to the magic bus Flickr group where every few days I select 6 that really stand out and post then onto the magic bus website, It’s a really fun project, I’ve met so many incredible, adventurous and talented people through it.

Are there certain criteria that photos must meet before making it onto your blog? How do you go about choosing which ones are included?

There’s a few unspoken criteria that I think makes a ‘magic bus’ photo. They’re usually all film photos with a few exceptions, I like that with film every photo is truly unique from the type of film used, the camera, the grain and the light flares. The photos also have to be modest, real photos from people’s travels, but other than that it’s pretty relaxed. I like photos that make you want to get your backpack on, pack your tent and get off the beaten track.

On your site it says that you are going to have a book circulating between different artists all over the world…Pretty cool idea, can you talk about it? What was the inspiration behind it?

I’ve wanted to do a magic bus book for a longtime but I hadn’t found a lot of time to do it, but a graphics project came up in a class where I had the opportunity to create a book. It was really fun to make but i only made one as it was hand bound in a hand stitched cover. I thought it would be a cool idea to circulate the book with a little journal in it and an address list. I think it’ll be fun and really personal to everyone involved.

Where do you see yourself a couple years down the road?

I want to be living comfortably and happily, and having the time and opportunity to travel. I’d also like to be making a living off my art of course expanding the bus of magic.

For more of Maddie’s work, check out her blogs and

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