- JoMo's art is a riot of kaleidoscopic colour. Drawing inspiration from space, disco and geometry, she creates dream-like, other-worldly pieces that burn their way into the minds eye. We sat down with a virtual cup of tea to discuss her influences, background, musical tastes and artistic processes…
- Hello Jo, can you tell us a bit about yourself to start off – where are you from, what do you do, where are you at?
Hello, well I started out in Baghdad, the land of date palms, geometry and beer, where I was born n raised until the age of ten when we came to London for a holiday and never left. Im now living between London and Liverpool and I spend my days drawing, making, computering or taking my camera out for a walk.
- Architecture seems an important influence in your art – wether through the photographs you take of abstracted segments of buildings or in your floating planets, the influence comes through. Has it always been a fascination?
Architecture is kind of in my blood, I come from a family of engineers and architects, I have always lived in major capital cities and my earliest memories was of spending endless hours building fantastical lego houses over and over again, so its no wonder that you see so much of it in my work. And apart from trees, buildings are the oldest things which you see on a daily basis. Unless you live in Stoke or Milton Keynes perhaps.
- Did you study art or were you born with a paintbrush in your hand?
My uncle was an outspoken artist, so he had a paintbrush or two so it mustve rubbed off. I was always doing creative stuff when I was younger but never took it seriously until school, and as I was never good with words it seemed natural. I then went and done a BA in fine art and an MA in new media production.
- What does your actual artistic practice consist of – do you start on the computer or start elsewhere and take the images into a computer to be further worked up?
Well this may sound a bit clich but most my ideas come form when the lights are out and I go to sleep. Im often kept awake by a vivid kaledoscope of images rolling past my eyes, most drift off onto the darkness but some I remember n sketch out in the morning adding extra detail here n there. I then build it up on the computer where it transforms again and takes on a whole new life.
- What would you say are the main, recurring themes of you work?
Well apart from architecture theres a fascination with geometric patterns, stemming from my childhood, that appears frequently within my work.
I also have a curuios interest in the parallel universe and futuristic ideas of space travel, humans and terstrials enteracting and, ultimately, space disco.
- Looking at your website, you clearly love music. Can you give us a top 5 of the tracks we are likely to hear in your studio?
Attitude- Love Me Tonight
Romel Louise- Its A Love Affair
Sun Ra- The Night of the Purple Moon
Supercat w. Reggie Steppa – Jungalist
Are you part of any collectives? Ive heard whispers of a mysterious group going by the name of Astro Black?? Can you tell us anything about this?
Yep, you heard right. Astro Black collective is due to touchdown on earth from the far reaches of the fourth galaxie. Were a group of artists, illustrators, animators and DJs who got together through a shared love for all things interplanetary and galactic funk.
The current line up is myself, Victoria Topping, Amy Rhian and Emily Evans. Its a really good mix of people because weve all developed our own way of exploring similar themes and between us weve worked within many different disciplines so it creates an interesting dynamic when working together. So keep youre eyes peeled and be ready an astral invasion.
- Being based in Liverpool, do you feel there is a strong sense of community within the art world there?
Yeah definitely, Liverpool has a rich deep rooted independent arts and music scene and everyone supports each other whenever they can. For example I run a monthly film night and Ive had lots of support from independent arts venues such as Drop the dumbbells and outpost creative, without which I dont think I could keep the night going so Im super grateful.
- Your work focuses on space a fair bit, if you could send a pod into space to give extra terrestrials an understanding of humanity, what would you put in there?
Hmm, how bigs the pod??… I might just stick george Clinton, sun ra, grace jones and bjork in there n get em explain it all. Astro black will do the album sleeve design when they all get back.
- Who are the artists youre most influenced by?
Im currently swooning over Cuban artist alberto del pozo. The intricate patterns and the compositions in his is Oricha collection depicting afro-Cuban Santeria gods is incredible.
Ive also been looking at lots of graffiti and muralists, my faveroite of which is chilian Xuan Alyfe ,if only I could get him to join the astro black crew.
- What's your favourite era (time and place) for art and general style?
I think its gotta be New york in the late 70s early 80s… disco, boogie, hip hop, graffiti, shoulder pads Ill have it!!