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Jo Peel Outdoor art

April 17, 2017

Happy Easter Holidays to everyone. I hope this find’s you unwound and enjoying your long weekend off.

I recently came across the wonderful work of artist Jo Peel, and got in touch to discover a little more behind her large-scale illustrations.

Let’s start with a small selection of Jo’s paintings on canvas.

What’s your earliest memories of art and how did you first start painting onto buildings ?

For me it was just a natural progression from drawing to painting and another way to visually communicate ideas. I am inspired by everyday occurrences and with paint, my intention is to bring life to the things that could easily pass by unnoticed.

Here’s a couple of interior room commissions Jo has been asked to do and a huge outdoor one for Hagglers Corner in Sheffield.

My blog often covers art from the fifties and sixties, where light blue and orange are often seen together, is there a particular reason these colours pop up repeatedly in your work ?

I’ve always had a love of strong turquoise blues, I can’t seem to leave the colour out of my murals. The orange comes from my love of construction. It’s used so frequently in building sites – and happens to look good with blue!

Your paintings, for me, tell a story of the changing face of towns and cities. Choosing to paint places like The Cod Father, SellFridges etc, do you associate with the humour around us or are these paintings more like statements or questions to challenge how we feel about the spaces we live in ?  In the same way that photographers like Martin Parr have shown a side of life in some places that people would rather turn a blind eye to, you also seem to pluck those images out and capture them in oil. What do these places say to you ?

I tend to be influenced by everything around me. I like watching cranes slowly move above urban landscapes and walking past piles of discarded boxes and piles of bricks. I’m influenced by the idea of telling a story about the world as it is now. There is a sadness in the way that humans strive to build and demolish, but also a hope and a humour.

Can you tell us a little more about your work depicting trees growing into buildings. Is this about nature reclaiming what was originally hers ?

I suppose the main idea running through all of my work is the idea expressed in my animation, “Things Change” made in 2012. I’m interested in how the past influences us now, as well as the way in which people connect to buildings and environments as well as the hidden infrastructures that link everyone together. Nature was here before us and I would like to think that when we mess it all up, she will indeed reclaim what was originally hers.

Great to see that you’ve been asked to paint more globally too. Can you explain a little about the challenges you face, when painting abroad ? For instance do you worry about getting the raw materials you would need, sourced locally ? Long ladders, small cranes etc ?

Generally I’ve been surprised at how easy it is to get hold of materials abroad. You can learn a lot about a place from a builders merchant! When I go to Japan I always try to stock up on tools and paintbrushes.


What was your most challenging painting to date ? and the one that gave you the most pleasure ?

Interesting that you put both questions together as I think that the answer is the same for both. My animation “Things Change” was pretty challenging, as I started it in Brazil but unfortunately all my equipment and memory cards were stolen in an armed robbery, so I had to re-start it in London. There were many more challenges along the way, financially and physically, but it was definitely worth doing in the end and I was so pleased to finish it.

Finally, for anyone who isn’t familiar with the arts scene in Sheffield, where are the must-see places to visit ?

Peak District!  Oh, and B&B gallery for the art.

Many thanks to Jo for answering my questions, onwards and upwards as they say ! I love the work, but I do wonder if she ever gets tired of painting bricks ! : )

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 17, 2017 1:24 pm

    Apart from being beautiful Jo’s artwork is a fantastic record of urban life. Fabulous. Thanks for sharing Craig!! :o)

  2. April 18, 2017 7:22 pm

    This is so cool! I like how the splotches of orange color migrated to places that were off the beaten path. Also the water reflection in the street, and how the window angles and building angles were a tad wonky and slanted. At first, her work looks realistic, but then we spy a tree growing out of a window. Her work is fun, way more to see than at first glance. I think a few stray alley cats added to her work would be fun, perhaps some pigeons on some roof tops or poles. Just a thought.

    • April 19, 2017 9:48 am

      Well studied Joy, great to hear Jo’s work has inspired you today. I’ll pass on your thoughts of Pigeons : )

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