Jo Starkey: From Ballet to Brush Strokes

This month, we're thrilled to introduce you to Jo Starkey: a remarkable artist who along the journey traded ballet shoes for brushes and canvases. We asked Jo if she could give us a glimpse into her world, and without hesitation, Jo invited us in.

Jo's artistic voyage began in a small village on the outskirts of Nottingham. Although her passion for the arts was evident from the start, it was a different stage that initially beckoned her – the world of ballet. Jo spent her secondary school years training to be a dancer. But little did she know that her true calling was waiting to emerge. At 16, she hung up her ballet shoes, and that’s when a new path started being carved.

I Know My Heart Canvas £85

Talking about art and inspiration

We know that artists have a very unique way of describing their own art. So, we asked Jo the opening question: “How would you describe your art in 3 words?”

‘Abstract realism’ is a good description for my landscapes and woodlands, and ‘stylised contemporary floral’.

Her ability to blend realism with abstraction creates a unique and captivating style that invites viewers to step into her world, where reality meets abstraction in a harmonious dance of colors and shapes.

When asked about how she knows when a painting is finished, Jo shared, "That’s a fine balance as it’s very easy to overwork a painting, or for it not to have enough detail, so I’ve learnt to keep pausing, and consider a composition and reflect on the vision I’m trying to create."

We wanted to dive more into Jo’s work rituals, how she gets inspired, and what are the things she notices in other pieces of art.

Are there any rituals you have to get yourself into the creative flow?

"I always start the day with a cup of coffee, while pondering a strategy and structure for the day for the pieces I have in mind to paint. I’m always excited about beginning new pieces as I will have researched my compositions in advance and will be feeling inspired by my choices."

While creative blocks can be a challenge for any artist, Jo's passion keeps her inspired.

She shares, "I have been affected by creative blockages in the past when life has thrown emotional challenges at me, and nothing heals emotions but time, but generally, I don’t suffer from this as I love what I do and am always inspired."

We also asked Jo what are the first elements she notices in other artists’ work: "I’m usually drawn to other people’s work by their skillful use of colour and light."

She also confided that there are lots of artists that she admires ‘and would like to be able to paint like them or learn their techniques’.

Evening Shadow Framed Print £75

The Impact of Social Media and Life Beyond the Canvas

In a world increasingly dominated by social media, we wondered how it might affect the art Jo creates. Jo reflects on its influence on her work, saying, "Social media hasn’t affected the way I create. I see it more as a distraction, as I feel that in order to be current and be seen, I need to have a presence on social media, by promoting myself, which does not come naturally to me."

Beyond painting, Jo finds inspiration in the simple pleasures of life.

"I love walking and exploring new places, which is where I get my inspiration. I don’t really have time for hobbies, but I do love my yoga, which helps to keep my mind and body healthy."

To see more of Jo’s world, follow her account on Instagram where she updates it with her latest work. And if you’d like to check some of Jo’s prints we have in our store, you can click here.

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