Five questions to Joanna Beckett

Five questions to Joanna Beckett

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Joanna Beckett, born in Poland in 1979, spent nearly two decades in London, UK, now living and working in Los Angeles. Her visual language is a synergy of early exposure to European masters, in-depth studies of the mind and behavior, cultural transitions, and inquiries into one’s identity. Joanna’s curiosity, independent spirit and authenticity are the driving forces of her work, turning each canvas into a multifaceted experience.

How did you get into art?

Looking back, it seems as though art has always been a part of my DNA, fully unlocked in the right sequence and at the right time within the context of my life experiences. Despite my early fascination with visual language, art wasn’t an option. I had to pursue ‘a real career’. I was on a quest for understanding ‘the world’s madness’ and Psychology was the route I chose. It now feels as if my studies of the mind and human condition was necessary to activate that part of my artistic DNA. It was at the peak of my career as a psychologist when art became my daily practice of self-expression, offering a sense of liberation and healing. I took a leap and plunged myself into the realm of art with all the content from my former profession.

How would you describe your style? What makes your work special?

It’s contemporary, edgy and lyrical—a style that evolved organically through years of experimentation and exploration, now reflecting my artistic identity. This evolution has led to three distinct collections that I continue to work on. Each canvas unfolds as a story that taps into our collective experiences. It’s a blend of cerebral content captured in a way that aims to resonate with a viewer and evoke emotional or visceral responses.

Ultimately, my intention is to create art that offers multiple levels of engagement. It’s up to the viewer to decide how deeply they want to engage with it. Texture is vital in my work. It guides a viewer on their kaleidoscopic journey through their own projections. In some instances, like in my Dot Collection, texture is used as a symbolic marker. Every textured dot represents a life moment, a twist, a junction transforming the canvas into a visual biography.

How do you go about developing your work?

It’s a process of finding ways for the image to reveal itself from the chaos of thoughts, emotions, texture and colors. Although each time is different, I usually start from building up texture. That is how the narrative originates through deliberate and meditative layering. The themes of our shared experiences are being transcripted onto a canvas. It’s transcendental and healing. The subsequent choices of composition, hues, and brushstrokes are, in a way, predetermined by it. It's as if I am part of the process or a dialogue that is being manifested. I blend, glaze, scrape, apply, and re-apply paints with often unconventional tools, employing either dynamic and gestural or controlled strokes, intuitively moving all these elements until they seamlessly fall into place.

It’s a journey from chaos to another abstracted version of it that somehow communicates shared narrative.

Who or what influences you?

Absolutely everyone and everything that I am exposed to somehow finds its way to be echoed in my work. Painting itself is like an act of digesting the intricacies of life with the final product mirroring various aspects of it. I’m drawn to the works of Rothko and Newman for their depth and emotional charge, Korean Dansaekhwa for texture and process oriented approach and the Jungian school of thought. My work is informed by my studies of the mind and behaviour, emotions, and cognition, particularly our collective unconscious and the relations between us and the ever changing circumstances, life context. I guess, I transitioned from verbal to visual language, maintaining the existential focus.

Make us curious. What are you planning to do next?

The next step involves larger canvases and predominantly monochromatic, incorporating different texture elements to elevate the visual impact. I will continue developing my three collections, Elements, Dots and Forms, and find a new way of utilizing their distinct features, which would form my fourth collection. So, yet another chapter on my artistic journey.

Photo Joanna Beckett: Jeffrey Sklan

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