Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Interview with Joanne (Majo)

One thing is clear from looking at Joanne's paintings and reading her blog: she will pull you in. It is impossible to take a close look at her work and not feel connected in some way to her Southern life. There is an air of sweet reminiscence in her words and imagery. Even the titles of her blog entries speak to times gone by: Looking Back, I Used to Play the Piano, Coca Cola Doesn't Taste the way It Used To. It makes you want to look...and linger...and think about places and people in your own past.

I met Joanne, known as Majo, on Etsy through the Visual Arts Street Team. I admired her shop from afar, so I am delighted she volunteered for this project.

Joanne is a self-taught artist born and raised in the southern United States. "I have always lived in Alabama and Georgia," she tells me, "I love both states! I paint from my heart and memories. What comes from my little brushes is simply--me."

Joanne chooses acrylics to paint with because it dries fast and suits her personality. With oil, it's just too tempting to keep "picking" at the paint and moving it around. "I would probably never complete a painting!"

Memories play an important role in Joanne's work. "No matter what I paint, there is a tiny piece of a memory locked inside."

Central to many paintings: an old house. "My maternal Grandparents were sharecroppers," Joanne confides, "They moved around from place to place, all their lives, tending crops for other people. They were as poor as church mice, but something interesting was always going on at the house!" As Joanne's Grandfather got older and became ill, he was unable to work. Her grandparents rented a little white house. "I remember thinking they had suddenly become rich when they moved into their first painted house."

Other paintings feature one person, speaking to Joanne's loneliness as a child. "I had two sisters, but I was the oldest and it seemed that I was always working. Now that we are older, I hear my sisters talking about playing in the yard when we were children but I don't remember playing very much. I remember working in the garden all the time and feeling very lonely."

Joanne has had many challenges in life, and is a strong person: a self-described "survivor, of sorts." After serving her time in the "corporation," Joanne sees painting as her salvation. "My husband has become very ill and, most of the time, I feel like a prisoner in my own home since I cannot leave for very long. But I always turn to my paints! I feel even more blessed when someone likes my work and buys a piece--now THIS is the part that is always amazing to me!"

Joanne loves all music. "It all sets my feet to tapping!" Her favorite movie is Paper Moon. "I can't see it enough! I used to be a technical writer--but now I love to read simple little books that take me back to my childhood. I'm reading Paper Moon again now!"

Her favorite shoes have always been "since I can barely remember" patent leather Mary Jane's. "I don't have any now, but I can close my eyes and see them so clearly in my mind! I think they describe the way I have always wanted my life to be--simple." Joanne wore high heels for many years--every single day--when she was working. "Now, I prefer Clarks--the slide-in-and-go kind. Simple comfort is my shoe of choice!"

Look for Joanne's books in the future. "I have written two books which are in the mail, making the publishing house rounds."

More about Joanne may be found on her blog and in her shop.

5 comments:

dianeclancy said...

Hi Janyce and Joanne,

This is wonderful to read!! Thank you for this story. Each story I read I get closer to being able to figure out how to tell my own.

I love the texture and the detail!

~ Diane Clancy
www.DianeClancy.com/blog
www.YourArtMarketing.com

Debora said...

I discovered Majo months ago and had to buy her art. I loved dealing with her almost from the word go. She is so talented and just through email I feel how very special she is and this also comes across in her art. Oh how I wish I could paint...

missbeahaven said...

I also discovered Joanne awhile back, and I am so glad that I did. She has done several pieces for me, and each one is even better than I could have imagined.

I really enjoyed learning more about Joanne in this article. She is a sweet lady with loads of talent and wonderful taste in shoes!!!

missbeahaven said...

I also discovered Joanne awhile back, and I am so glad that I did. She has done several pieces for me, and each one is even better than I could have imagined.

I really enjoyed learning more about Joanne in this article. She is a sweet lady with loads of talent and wonderful taste in shoes!!!

twolefthands said...

I love Joanne, I am also the proud owner of two of her paintings! She is an incredible lady and I admire her so very much! I can't wait to buy her books!