Five questions to Jo Hummel

Five questions to Jo Hummel

Jo Hummel was born 1982, lives and works in Isle of Wight, South Coast UK. She graduated Royal College of Art London in 2006. Using her native coastline as a starting point, Jo Hummel's work is characterised by a painted and paper collaged surface on which she employs spontaneous variations of space, colour and form. How did you get into art?

Drawing as a child was my first introduction to art. I have a faint memory of my father pushing me in a children’s buggy and I sketched things on the way. We also had a lot of philosophical conversations which I think developed a way of critical thinking.

As I went through school my interest became more serious. I loved discovering the work of famous artists. It was an escape for me, to loose myself in the worlds of other artists. I then went on to study at the Royal college of Art in London and subsequently set up my full time studio practice when I was 26.

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

Even though my work is presented as painting it is actually paper collage. I paint with paper. I choose to work with paper because of its ephemeral and domestic quality. I manipulate this everyday material with household tools such as scissors and scalpels. My paintings are built up in layers with joinery and often reveal fissures and fault lines.

My work is a unique process I have developed as a way of reducing my own anxiety. By collaging, the work is in constant flux. I can adjust the forms hundreds or thousands of times until I am content with the composition. I colour the paper front and back so I can flip the sheets to reveal alternative colour choices. By doing this I have created a making process which I find far more satisfying than traditional painting. How do you go about developing your work?

Each work leads on to the next. I see my practice as an eco system. An element of one piece may inform an entire solo exhibition. I treat colour as therapy. My colour choice is almost driven by a medicinal requirement.

All the time I am working there are micro developments and macro developments. I have a mind which likes to problem solve. I often identify something restricting the development, and then put a lot of energy into troubleshooting the issue. One example is presenting the work without glass. That took a lot of experimentation. Who or what influences you? 

A balanced, or unbalanced internal state is what influences the work the most theses days.

Keeping myself mentally and physically healthy so I can perform on studio days is, to be honest, the most important task which influences the work.

I like to read and listen to podcasts, mainly on the subject of psychology. I make work because it allows me to experience the layers of my own consciousness and to better understand or research this science is incredibly interesting.

Getting into nature, being by the sea, or looking into the distant horizon is also a big influence.What are you planning to do next?

I am currently making work for Flowers Gallery in Cork Street London. Each year they curate a group exhibition called ‘Small is Beautiful’ and this will be the third year I have been invited. I am also creating work for a solo show with my representing gallery in Asia, Streams Gallery, Hong Kong, as well as ongoing exhibitions with my Spanish Gallery, Galeria Victor Lope.

I am also continuing to develop my wall relief paintings and will hopefully be exhibiting two 5 metre pieces at Lille Grand Palais in France as a guest Artist for INTERFACE in February 2024.Instagram