Monday, 9 November 2015

meet challenge member: Joanne Stead

Joanne Stead

1. Your name, location
Joanne Stead, Tamworth NSW

Week 17 - Fluffy

2. Describe your family
I have two daughters, 10 and 7, and a son who is 3.  We are all a bit crafty and the kids love joining in on all of my little projects.  Sometimes they use a bit too much of my art supplies for my liking!
Week 12 - Costume by Joanne Stead
3. Describe your work
I have a background in psychology and journalism and have worked in Mental Health, Health Education, Regional & Economic Development, and Aboriginal Community Development over the years.  In December last year my role with the NSW Government was changed as part of a restructure and I was made redundant, which has freed me up financially to try a few new things over 2015. I registered my business as a community development consultant in March and having been trading mostly on my writing skills, running workshops, mentoring in specialised writing skills, helping local companies with their reporting requirements, grants and proposals, newsletters and other things.  I am a bit of a sucker for a good community project and have been pretty poor at the making money side of business so far. All of my spare time (ie not spent actually making money or with the kids) is consumed with volunteering, love jobs or dreaming up and working on creative projects.
Week 16 - Structure by Joanne Stead
4. What is your career goal?
I know I am meant to have defined my goal very specifically by now (especially having read Tania’s Fantastical Flying Creator) but I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.  I am torn between wanting to work in meaningful social change projects and make a real difference in the world, and wanting to hide away and feed my creative side 24/7.  Some weeks I dream of a month of no kids and a studio with an endless supply of art materials, but I’d probably get lonely.  I’d love to make some money out of my art, and I do tell myself regularly that I need to get a bit more ambitious and pursue it more aggressively.
Week 9 - Texture by Joanne Stead
5. Describe your art background
I did art in high school through to Year 12 and really wanted to pursue it at art college, but I was persuaded to go to university and get a proper qualification.  I had another chance at it ten years later in 2002 when I was offered a job to train in interactive digital design with an educational software company, but I ended up choosing another local job with no commute.  Everything offers opportunities, and some of those that I did take I wouldn’t ever want to give back, but it would be nice to be able to have done it all, rather than having to make choices.  I have loved the opportunity that the redundancy has given me to take some time off and get back to art this year.  I have rediscovered a passion that had been overtaken by being a provider and being a mum for a lot of years and it was so much like meeting an old friend again.
Week 19 - Eat by Joanne Stead
6. What do you love about the Challenge? What have you learned?
The Challenge has inspired me to explore new mediums and the networks of artists and support provided are genuinely priceless. From my first post I felt welcomed, embraced and celebrated as an artist and I was hooked straight away.  The support hasn’t let up and the personal relationships I have developed continue to nurture my creative side.  Jason Philp’s work introduced me to scraperboard and Peter Hinton and then Jolanda Jarman set me on the path of trying linocut which am also very taken with at the moment.  Without the Challenge I wouldn’t have developed nearly as large a body of work this year, or set up my own art page, or had the courage to approach local galleries which have all opened up exciting opportunities for me this year.

7. What is your favourite illustration you have done for the challenge so far? 
Cocoon Challenge - Joanne Stead

8. Tell us something that we don’t know about you
(Some of you will already know)…  This year I was part of a massive voluntary community effort to build a new fully-accessible playground in our town.  I played a role as one of 12 construction captains facilitating the build, helping coordinate the efforts of over 850 community volunteers.  In 6 days we built Tamworth a brand new Adventure Playground with over 50 pieces of unique playground equipment including a fully accessible merry-go-round, flying fox and slide, musical equipment, sensory areas, library and much, much more.

It was one of the best things I have ever been involved in, and such a buzz to see so many of our community members – from doctors, dentists and bankers to tradies – all work side by side to see the playground built from the ground up in less than a week.  As well as being a construction captain I was also part of the art team and thanks to a team effort, one of my designs now sits proudly on the entrance sign to the Park – Check out some of our photos at

Follow Joanne online: 
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  1. I like that each of your works offers a uniquely different perspective Jo. Along with an injection of humour and humanity. I imagine that each artwork can unfold into a full story. I imagine the little boy picking apples then sharing one with a new little friend while resting against that apple tree. Thanks for sharing your journey, it has been great watching your passions come to life! Karen

  2. Your art is stunning Joanne and I really loved the picks for the week.


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