Jo Painter is NCA's Charcoal specialist. Her black and white portraits & landscapes are created using the simplest of materials, yet hold substantial depth. She's worked under a huge variety of briefs, including most recently with Volcom as part of their 'This First' campaign. In this Q&A, we look to get under the skin of the North Coast Asylum Co-Founder.
NCA: JO, TELL US, HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR FEET AS AN ARTIST & WHY JUST CHARCOAL?
Having grown up in a creative family the passion for art was always there. After spending years experimenting with different mediums I began using charcoal solely, stripping images of their colour and going back to the raw basics. I really loved, and still love, the idea of taking colour away but adding more tone and depth. I think the absence of colour makes the viewer think harder about the subject matter, leaves more to the imagination. As my style developed so did the demand for my pieces so I took the bold decision to quit my day job and go full time. I'm in love with charcoal, but I've also begun adding in grey tones of soft pastel to add texture to the work. The main reasons I was originally drawn to charcoal was its earthyness, simplicity and everlasting nature, it's one of the only mediums that doesn't fade in the sun!
NCA: WHEN WORKING IN THE STUDIO WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIALS YOU MUST HAVE WITH YOU?
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:
Reusable Passenger Metal Water Bottle - plastic bottles in our oceans suck
Fabriano Paper 200 GSM - the best quality paper ever!
Union Coffee - if you like coffee you need to try this stuff
Winsor & Newton Putty Rubber - a total essential. Normal rubbers just do not cut it, putty rubber or if all else fails then a scalpel...
White Pastel - grey 28 unison pastel & Black Pastel - grey 36 unison pastel - Essential colours, created by the best brand.
Winsor & Newton Fixative - fixative goes about 15% of the way in fixing charcoal
Cheerful Mind Balm - by Badger Balm, this stuff makes me really happy
Whitley Neill Gin - Gin and Tonics power me through late nights in the studio.
Smashed iPhone - wish it wasn't smashed...
Parsons Jack Russell - not necessarily an essential, but i don't have a choice.. He comes with me regardless.....EVERYWHERE
NCA: WHAT'S NEXT ON THE BUCKET LIST?
I'd love to do a series of large scale charcoal seascapes, rather than one off's. The ocean is where my heart lies, so it's what I am pulled towards not only in life but also in my art. Living by the ocean and spending a lot of time in it means I'm also passionate about protecting it. So I would love to do an ocean series with a charitable aspect to it. In terms of my travel bucket list, New Zealand is very high up there because of its epic coastlines and rolling, expansive scenery. I would also love to spend some time travelling around the rugged Scottish coast, somewhere I think could really inspire and influence my work.
Follow Jo on Instagram @joannapainter