The Artist

Starting Out

self portraitI have had several requests asking to know about myself and my art. I have always loved art, I studied it at school, and it was one of my favourite subjects along with English and Geology. I loved learning about different mediums, especially oil pastels. I only decided to specialise in art at the end of my first year studying for my A levels. I decided to concentrate on graphic design, although I now realise that my portfolio was rather full of illustrative pieces and lacking in typography! During my time at college I learnt about typography and design, with only small amounts of illustrative projects. I always tried to sneak an illustration into my work, much to the disapproval of my tutors! This was the time of minimal graphics, minute typography with lots of white space! I needed colour, vibrancy and most importantly - expression! I eventually learnt to get a good crit, by simply adding small text, but what a way to quash an individual's talent? When I look back now I realise that this is definitely not the way to teach. Pupils must not leave college as clones!

Working As A Designer

On leaving college, I felt rather disheartened with the whole idea of 'graphics'! However, not one to give up, I attended an interview for the B.B.C Good Food magazine in London. I arrived at an imposing building dripping in sweat due to nerves and having to drag my portfolio through the stifling tunnels of the London Underground. I remember thinking "oh dear, what have I let myself in for?"

me workingFor once my work was appreciated they loved my bright design and I'm quite sure it made a change from all that 'minimal' work that was being churned out. So, I began my career in editorial design working as an assistant designer. My first project was to design a book for the Japanese market called 'Creative Britain' promoting British art, culture and industry. It was a very large project and I soon learnt my way around the office, working dilligently - I loved it! Soon after I was fully employed and working on B.S.B magazine. This was just the job for me. The magazine was bold and lively, and we could experiment with typography and design.

Redwood's Publishing House, LondonEventually I moved to London as the commuting was exhausting and I would often arrive late to hear the comments, "what, leaves on the line again Jo?''!! Well the years passesd, now I was an art editor working for the Haymarket. I found that the higher you go the less work you have to do! I spent my time commissioning photography and illustration. Also, reviewing porfolios of art students from prestigious colleges e.g St. Martins. I enjoyed giving positive criticism and viewing mixed style and expression. One of the projects that I found most enjoyable was designing the first Big Issue magazine. Myself and a fellow collegue had the daunting task of designing from scratch. We definitely burned the midnight oil to achieve this! As the magazine was in it's infancy we had many problems to overcome. I also visited London Connection, a centre for the homeless where I gathered many articles in the form of poetry and personal experiences. This was a wonderful time, a place where I found such talent.

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