Saturday, 1 June 2013

June Artist in a Window Interview With Joanne Reay

Junes artist in a window is the colourful work of Joanne Reay we caught up with her to find out more about her work and inspirations.
Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Joanne Reay and I am a 42 year old mum of 2 teenagers. I run a full time business in the day, and then I like to create Mixed Media pieces whenever I can fit it in which I then sell at various events usually at weekends.
 Why do you do what you do?

I’ve only recently started to paint again from a 15 year break because my daughter is very creative and she brought back some artwork from school during her GCSE’s. I suppose at the moment, it is purely for the enjoyment of it, and as more and more people see and like my work, it encourages me to do more.
How do you work?

When I’m working on a project, I like to take lots of photos and collect different ideas and put everything in a sketch book because otherwise I tend to do too much thinking and not enough doing and so many ideas get lost in my head which is very frustrating.

I then like to experiment with different techniques, colours, media and scales and I do a lot of “playing about”. Some ideas work out and other don’t. The ideas that work I go onto develop and maybe do more playing until I’m happy. The ideas that don’t work go into my sketchbook as it all becomes a record of what I have done.

I have been using collage, image transfer and black gloss paint for my latest work which is messy to use, but fun!
What’s your background?

I trained to be a Technical Illustrator at college which is very precise and accurate line ink drawings of exploded illustrations of engines and similar. Think “Haynes Car Manuals” and you will know what kind of work it was. I did this for around 4 or 5 years on and off but it became increasingly digital as computers took over the world! And so the humble drawing board became redundant.

I  have done 1 or 2 commissions since then during the time that I brought up my family but I basically didn’t find the time to much more.

Then, 3 years ago, I decided to do a Foundation Degree in Contemporary Art Practise at Leek School of Art in Staffordshire. I loved it from day one. We attended many different workshops including life drawing, ceramics, glass and many, many more. The course also made you think about how to set up a practise and where you would like it to take you in the future. We organised events and the last hurdle was organising the end of year show from applying to funding to the hanging of the work – we covered everything! Can I do a sneaky plug?
Go on then! :)....

Astound 2013 Contemporary Art Exhibition at the Nicholson Gallery, Leek, Staffordshire. Open 10-4pm Mon – Sat until 15th June. 

 What work do you most enjoying doing?

When I’m just playing about with no real ideas – I’m just pushing paint about and using lots of colour – just experimenting
What themes do you pursue?

My latest work is following my childhood in the 1970’s so I am working off old family photo albums. I always love looking through old photo albums – they capture memories and they tell a story as you continue leafing through the pages. I also like to look at current family and teenage issues as I have some of those back home (teenagers that is) and I think a lot of other people can relate to them.  
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
I am currently running an online retail business which sells curtain poles, tracks and blinds. When I left college (I was 18), I worked in Manchester as a Technical Illustrator for a couple of years and again (after being made redundant) in Congleton for a different company. Of course, I’ve had all the usual Saturday jobs and bar jobs in between.

Why art?

I’ve always drawn and painted from a young age and it always came so naturally. My friends at school always wanted me to paint their favourite pop stars for them. 

 Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

I’m far from lonely. I wish I had more time on my own to do more work! To have the house to myself is bliss but it doesn’t happen very often. I like to get in the “zone” and I can only do that when I’m on my own.
What do you dislike about your work?

Pressure! If I have to get work finished in time for an event or for a commission. Also, as with most others I feel, all the paper work and business side to working for yourself.
Professionally, what’s your goal?

If people continue to like and buy my work, I may be able to set up a professional studio and support myself doing something I love.
Thankyou Joanne!
Junes exhibition in the main gallery is Under African Skies by Helen Rhodes and Mel Anderson look out for their interview soon!