The winning design
With former Governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, in 1985 at ceremony honoring contest winners.
Award-winning author-illustrator, Joyce Wan, designed her first greeting card when she was in first grade for a city-wide greeting card design contest. The design won first place and was subsequently sold through a major department store chain. Twenty years later, that design would inspire a line of greeting cards and eventually a design studio called Wanart. Products featuring Joyce’s designs are now sold in boutiques and gift shops worldwide and she has published over twenty books for children including the best-selling YOU ARE MY CUPCAKE. Joyce is inspired by Japanese pop culture, modern architecture, and things that make her happy.
Joyce is the recipient of the Mills-Tannenbaum Award for Children's Literacy from Reach Out and Read of Greater New York which recognizes children’s book authors dedicated to promoting a lifelong love of reading in young children. She was also twice chosen to be featured at the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show which showcases original art from the year’s best children’s books (2011, 2016).
Joyce is originally from Massachusetts and currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter. Through all her work, she hopes to inspire people to embrace the spirit of childhood and follow their dreams.
Miscellaneous Biographical Facts:
- Joyce was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts.
- Joyce's parents are from China and immigrated to the United States in 1977.
- When Joyce was a young child, her mom could not speak English but took her and her siblings to the library every weekend. Although her mom was unable to read English, picture books enabled them to enjoy the pictures and make up stories together. That would be one of the greatest gifts her mom would ever give to her. (Read Joyce's essay on Why Picture Books are Important)
- Joyce's family lived on welfare in inner-city Boston until her early teens. That's when her parents used their life savings to open a small Chinese takeout restaurant called New China Garden and they moved to Westwood, Massachusetts, a small town 10 miles south of Boston. Joyce had to work at this restaurant every Friday or Saturday night all throughout her middle school and high school years.
- Joyce's parents, having barely a middle school level education, immigrated to the U.S. not knowing any English with nothing more than a desire for a better life. She admires them greatly for all that they have accomplished with so little to begin with. They showed her that with courage, hard work, and determination, you can make your dreams come true. It's a philosophy she lives by and is a major part of how she's doing what she does today.
- Joyce graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University in New York City with a liberal arts degree in Architecture. She is a self-trained artist although she has art school envy all the time!
- When Joyce first started wanart, she was working at a 9am-6pm job at an architectural firm. She spent many late night hours on her own business with only a few hours of sleep in between the two "jobs". She did this for two years before she quit her full time job to pursue her own business full-time.
- Joyce is a self-proclaimed night owl who enjoys drawing and writing in the wee hours (favorite hours: 12am-3am) when everyone’s asleep and the world is quiet.