My paintings are based on environments I observe through traveling around the Northwest: old mining towns, farms, delta cities, rural communities, and sometimes simply landscapes; what all these places have in common is the visible patina of history.
The loneliness of these environments has led me to invite characters to inhabit my paintings. Sometimes these characters stumble in clumsily and I have to inform them that they need to behave a certain way in order to stay; but they are children of my imagination - not very well-mannered - but do express a clear desire to reside in a particular painting, so I let them stay, even if they don’t “belong.”
Ultimately my paintings are living experiments where haunted or forgotten spaces are ultimately transformed into worlds where lost and abandoned souls find themselves in a place they can call home.
Jo Ford was born and grew up in California, but spent her early childhood in New Orleans, Louisiana. She received her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, studying with artists such as Robert Colescott and Irene Pijoan. Jo went on to get her MFA from UC Berkeley, where she received instruction from Squeak Carnwath, Wendy Sussman, John McNamara, and Richard Shaw, amongst others.
In showing her work, Jo has won awards from such jurors as Rene Pritikin, Enrique Chagoya, as well as from the California State Fair and the Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Jo has taught both Art and English in public middle and high schools for over fifteen years. She currently lives and works in Berkeley, California with her husband and their two sons.