Monday, 28 August 2017

Meet Joanne Stead — Challenge Admin

Joanne Stead

Describe your family:

I have two daughters, 11 and 9, and a son who is 4.  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!


Skipping, Week 26 2016: Shoes

Describe your work:

I have a background in psychology and journalism and have worked in a variety of project management and community development roles over the years.  Sixteen years after moving to Tamworth, my role with the NSW Government was restructured and I was made redundant in December 2014, which freed me up financially to try a few new things. 

I registered a business as a community development consultant and on that side of things I trade mostly on my writing skills these days.  I help community services organisations with their planning, reporting requirements, grants and proposals, newsletters and other things.  I don’t know if that sounds like I’m talking myself up too much – in reality I am a bit of a sucker for a good community project and so I am pretty poor at the making money side of business. 

Back in 2014, my looming redundancy was also my chance to assess where I was headed and start investing in myself again, and I joined the Illustration Challenge in October that year.  

At that time, I really couldn’t have ever dreamed where it would take me.  Last year in February I had my very first solo exhibition in a local café and then very quickly moved on to a major solo exhibition opportunity in Brisbane in September.  I still can’t believe that I got that one together on time.  I said yes to the offer despite only having 3 months to put together a collection of 50 artworks which I paired with 40 pieces of poetry for the exhibition.  It was an amazing time for me.  

This year I have started the year with four joint exhibitions, and next week I’m heading to Sydney to paint a mural on the Bondi Beach Sea Wall, before doing another solo exhibition at St Leonards in a little artist-run gallery in November.

That Dream Where I'm Underwater, Week 29 2016: Collage 

What is your career goal?

I know I am meant to have defined my goal very specifically by now, 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 more of my overall income out of my art, but no matter how much I learn about selling, marketing and business skills, they are still one of those things I think you have to be born with — and I wasn’t.

The Littlest Gardener, Week 7 2016: Kindergarden

Describe your art background

I did art all through high school 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 training 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.  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.

Various themes: Week 52 2015: World; Week 1 2016: Fancy Dress; Week 3 2016: Theme Park

What do you love about the Challenge? What have you learned?

The Challenge has given me so many opportunities.  It is really hard to believe what one Facebook group has given me, that a Facebook community could have so much power. Not just for me, but for so many others as well. 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. The Challenge has inspired me to explore new mediums and the networks of artists and support provided are genuinely priceless. Jason Philp’s work introduced me to scraperboard and then Peter Hinton and then Jolanda Jarman set me on the path of trying linocut.  

These days I’ve moved on to acrylics on canvas, something I had very little confidence with just this time last year.  I set out to improve my ability with acrylics to get into portrait work last year, and ended up having a mini-exhibition of portraits at a local café in January this year, and then won a first and second at our local show in April with some portraits too! 

Without the Challenge I would never have developed as large a body of work, or set up my own art page, or managed to find constant inspiration, or had the courage to approach local galleries which have all opened up exciting opportunities for me.

The Ideas Man: Gary Dadd, Week 40, 2016: Blue

What is your favourite illustration you have done for the challenge so far?

Bathroom Slippers, Week 17 2015: Fluffy

What advice would you give to artists just starting out in the Challenge?

Not only did the Challenge set me off on a path of regularly creating again, but I have connected with people with whom I have made the most amazing friendships. We encourage each other and allay each other's doubts. We inspire. Together we are an arty/writerly brains trust. We do art swaps, we support and cross-promote each other's pages, go to each other's exhibition openings, organise get-togethers and put in for joint exhibition opportunities! Individually we might carry that massive burden of self-doubt, that artist-anxiety and insecurity. But together we are fabulous. There is power and joy in connecting.

I love the Challenge Map that we have been able to make a start on creating this last week, definitely look yourselves up and see who is in your local network. 

Now that you have joined this amazing art network, make sure you harness the power of it. Build relationships, connect and encourage. Be everything that you need others to be, to empower you in your art journey.

Banksia Serrata, Week 16 2017, Experiment

Where can people buy your work?

Prints of my scraperboards are available through Art Lovers Australia here, and also through my website.

Follow Joanne online:

Facebook page:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.