Being a first generation American Chinese, Mamie Joe originally encouraged to be an artist by her Grandfather who was an artist himself. Her parents, however, wanted her to be involved in a more lucrative field such as science or medicine. But, Mamie really had no interest in anything except art. Even when she was very young, she would sit for hours while minding her parent's small grocery store and sketch. By the time she had finished her senior year in high school, she knew she would never be happy with herself unless she prepared herself for a future in art.
For Mamie, the very basic elements of line, space and color are essential ingredients in her art. How these elements react with one another is always her major concern in every piece she does. Her primary effort is directed toward studying the interrelationship of positive and negative spaces while giving more emphasis on composition.
Mamie is determined to work toward solidifying her work by using high contrast as well as various textures, while continuing to manifest sensitivity. She employs symbols, which have special meanings that relate to her own childhood. Her art has always reflected the cultural complexities of her family's traditional Chinese background with her upbringing in the South.