the work of sean arthur joyce


chameleonfire represents the body of work by Sean Arthur Joyce, also known as Arthur Joyce or Art Joyce. It has been my personal limited editions imprint since 1990, a means of publishing poetry that has been mostly outside the mainstream of Canadian literature. Chameleon Fire Editions is the creative umbrella under which I have produced books, broadsheets, chapbooks, and a 6-minute poetry video for BRAVO TV titled chameleon fire: the muse (2000).

chameleonfire since 1990 has published poetry in limited edition books and chapbooks: Timothy Shay, Resolutions (2008); Chad Norman, and if a man be divided (1992), The Kulling (2001) and Going Mad for the Love of Sanity (2009); Catherine Owen, Starvation Landscape (2001); Margaret Hornby, When the Snow Leaves Elephant Mountain (2002). My work as Arthur Joyce includes: the ‘she said’ poems (1990), Bloodstream & Starshine (1993), The Fire Mother (1994), The Shattered Icons (1994), and The House of Childhood (1997). My first major collection of poetry, The Charlatans of Paradise, was published in 2005 by New Orphic Publishers. As Art Joyce I wrote two books of West Kootenay history (see books page).

As Sean Arthur Joyce I continue to publish limited edition poetry broadsheets printed on quality photo paper, available to those who appreciate well-written, evocative poetry that falls outside the narrow boundaries and passing fads of literary fashion. Feel free to download them for your personal use but kindly respect and acknowledge my copyright. (See Poetry page)

What is chameleonfire?

Far more than merely my personal logo, it is a poet and artist’s signature, not unlike the signet rings once used by nobles and kings to affix an official symbol of authorship to a legal document. It is a flaming rune, a burning wicker man of creative spirit held up to beat back the advancing waves of darkness.

What is chameleonfire?

A dance in the liquid gold debris of autumn. An ice-jewelled blue sky in winter. The breathless green awakening of spring in the mountains. The dizzy, drunken delight of new love, and the burrowing agony of its collapse. A tortured spirit, tracking us through the labyrinth of family. And the haunted echoes that ripple out from there to erode the very bowels of civilization.

Why a chameleon?

This reptile is perhaps Nature’s most mysterious animal, with its shapeshifting rainbow hide – an ideal metaphor for the changing moods and expressive styles of the artist. And fire seemed to be the element in my younger years I most identified with, an age-old symbol of psychic devastation and renewal, or just plain passion.

Why the mask?

To make the imaginative leap, I designed the chameleonfire logo depicting a mask with flames shooting from its crown. The mask entered the image for its ancient provenance in the history of humankind, from the animal and spirit masks of ancient tribal cultures designed to help us commune with other worlds, to the less ceremonial, celebratory masks of European masked balls or Mardi Gras. The transformative power of the mask has been a recurring theme in my art since the 1980s.