Some days I wake up, have a little look at Instagram and see these wonderful pops of colour waiting there... mini explosions of beautiful bright orange, neon pink, sea blue and vivd green. The work is a joy and it's created by Jo Norman, so I had to catch up with Jo here on the blog, to discover more about her work, the inspirations behind it and, of course, a secret that no-one else knows.
So, sit back, relax and prepare to be dazzled by a shot of pure unadulterated colour, creativity and Somerset spirit! :)
Jo, can you tell us a little bit about your beautiful work and where your inspiration comes from?
My practice has evolved over the years, from the first screen prints created for fashion during my degree (in Birmingham a very long time ago), to small runs or individual pieces. I use a mix of techniques in my current work including using a vintage Japanese Risograph printer. This enables me to layer up colour and individual motifs. I can't help but be inspired by what is around me.
My view looks out to King Alfred's Tower and Selwood forest these are definitely a recurring theme and I am sure they will continue to be in many forms.
I am also an avid people watcher I love observing the every day, the ordinary, I'm fascinated by that and continually sketch when I am out and about. Collage commissions have been popular in lockdown and for this process I use a mix of washi tape and pen, I'm definitely drawn to the graphic quality of these.
Of course I must mention COLOUR! The play of vibrant colour and neons within a piece is what makes me very happy.
2. The use of colour is something that defines your creations. Which colours are your favourites to work with and how do you choose your colour combos? Do you have a favourite piece?
The balance and weight of the colours are always carefully considered. I think we are all unconsciously drawn to certain colour palettes and neon pink and orange are up there with my faves. It's definitely all about balance, I always explore this when producing new work, I instinctively know when a piece is a keeper or not.
At the moment I'm considering new colours, weighing up ideas in my head, visualising how they might work. The next step is to make a batch of new colours to try before using them. Look out for a bit of lilac in my next set of work, with neon of course!
I see my current work as three distinctive styles, silkscreen Risograph, collage and ply prints. Each of these present their own challenges and outcomes all of which I enjoy.
I don't have any particular favourite pieces however some have memories or connections for example Sheila my cleaner at work keeping us and students safe during the pandemic and the old Norfolk lady in her amazing stripy socks sketched on holiday and then turned into a neon screenprint.
3. If you could have tea and cake with any artist, living or passed, who would it be and why?
I think I would need to have a sketching tea party with several artists - it's impossible to pick one.
My choices would be the legend and colour wizard David Hockney. I absolutely love the way he is able to produce such a wealth of artwork and each piece is fresh and lively, if you didn't know him, you would imagine a young artist was the creator of the work. He still produces work every day and sends pieces to friends. I was blown away by the large scale iPad drawings produced by him for the bigger picture exhibition at the Royal Academy.
I would also like to invite the amazing painter Emily Powell to my artist tea party - young, fun and energetic. Emily produces mainly large scale paintings which are absolutely bursting with colour. She is based in Devon and often talks through her process on Instagram. She is a joy to watch and her success is growing fast. She would be an excellent attendee at the tea party for her light hearted and can do approach to art. I have two of her pieces but soon I don't think I will be able to afford them!
I am definitely drawn to all sorts of artists painters, printers, illustrators. I could have had invited so many other inspirational people.
4. Tell us a secret about you or work that no-one else knows.
A secret about me or my work, tricky. Well I love to exercise, running and cycling is what I try and do as often as possible. I have run several marathons countless half marathons and many sportive's including ride London 100 mile twice. I'm an art and photography teacher, I love ginger cake, I like my tea with very little milk, I have two teenage daughters, I am very decisive, I live on a farm and no surprises but I love neon. I have neon pink clogs.
I love this quote......
" I prefer living in colour" David Hockney
Ahh, we're totally with you there Jo and we love the spectrum of colour in your work and those awesome clogs too!
To check out more of Jo's work, head to her Instagram. Long may living life in colour continue.
#fourthoughts #jonorman #somersetartists