1. Welcome Joanne to The Influx Gallery family. Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you are from?
Firstly, thanks for the opportunity. I’m from the North East of England although I lived and worked for nearly forty years in London. I’m now back and living on the beautiful North East coast. I trained initially in Theatre&Costume Design and worked in TV and theatre for a few years, before training as a teacher. I loved teaching but it does take up all of your time! Since I (semi) retired, I have so much more time for my own work and it is becoming a second career.
2. Were your family supportive of you deciding to become an artist?
I’ve been an ‘artist’ since a very young age; there’s not a time I can remember when I wasn’t drawing and painting. So yes my family were always supportive; although I came from a relatively working-class background, I always had access to art materials.
3. Was there anything specific that you can remember that made you want to become an artist?
Nothing specific, for me it has always been something in me - the need to create.
4. Did your schooling or work affect your creative development in any way?
I went to a state selective school and remember the head trying to discourage me from taking my multiple Art A-levels, as “art is good as a hobby, but you can’t make a career of it.” Having said that, the school ran a very varied art programme, supported by the Head. As far as the influence of work on my current practice: my background of training and working in theatre design can be seen, I think, in the dramatic use of lighting/shadows and a sense of narrative in my paintings.
5. Where do you get your inspiration and influences from?
There are so many inspirations, from books and poetry, to things seen, remembered , dreamt or imagined. I usually have recurring themes that underpin my work, especially of half-seen, or half-remembered thoughts of moments & people in my life. Crows also became a recurring theme that stalked my thoughts, dreams and work after my son died. Ultimately, I would put my main inspiration as existential angst! I draw inspiration from the work of other artists such as the photographer Francesca Woodman and an ever-changing range of painters like Helene Schjerfbeck, who worked in a similar, scraping back way and Rembrandt, of course for his use of drastic lighting.
6. Do you have a favourite painting technique?
I tend to use a reductive method; painting several layers of paint then scratching into and wiping away with a rag to reveal an image(s) in one of the underlying layers. My work is based a lot on memories and this method allows me to build up and reveal many layers, reflecting, in a way, the way we store and retrieve memories.
7. We are very honoured to represent an artist displaying such creative originality? Does your creative process involve conscious or unconscious imaginings, or a mixture of both?
Both really. I might have an idea or thought, or have seen or heard something that triggers my interest, but then it will sit at the the back of my head for…sometimes months.. until it pushes forward and I have to do something visual with it.
8. What was your most enjoyable artwork to create/construct?
Probably my painting of a crow, “Corvid”. it had been in the back of my mind for so long, that when I eventually painted it, I swear it just flew onto the canvas and painted itself, or rather, I rubbed away the top layer of paint and there he was!
9. Your use of the human form and dark textures in your painting is fantastic. What emotions do you want to convey through your work?
I think I want to convey a sense of mystery; not quite knowing what’s happening behind or around the scene, the sense of intrigue when you can’t quite see or grasp something. The half-hidden, not quite remembered glimpse and then it’s gone, like trying to grasp the remnants of a dream when you first wake up.
10. We love the classical yet modern dark brush strokes within your work. Can you elaborate upon this original style of painting?
I love the sort of classical paintings that use heavy chiaroscuro, such as those by Rembrandt and Caravaggio, I love to imagine what I can’t see in the shadows and this is something I try to emulate in my own work. However, my painting methods; rags and fingers as much as brushes would probably have been frowned upon in that era!
11. Thanks a lot for your valuable time and interest. You can include any other details you want to talk about here?
Thanks for listening.