Aug 24, 2009

Jo Sealy

As well as having her own exhibition which she talks about here, Art Trail regular Jo Sealy is also part of Image 17. This is one of the Art Trail's Arts Council Commissions which I will be doing a special feature on shortly.

1. Please tell us about the work you will be showing in the 2009 E17 Art Trail?
I’ve decided to work with this year’s trail theme ‘home’ and will be showing a montage of images reflecting life in my own home. Some of the images have been taken by myself, some by my 7 year old daughter and 15 year old son.

2. Could you have done this work anywhere, or is it specific to E17? Did you respond to this year’s Art Trail theme ‘At Home’?
I suppose that because it’s quite a personal family piece it could have been done anywhere but there are touches like the flower beds at the base of trees in our area and the local woods that make it particular to Walthamstow. We’re also lucky enough to be on the edge of the forest and have very few actual houses on our road, so it is special.

3. Have you participated in the E17 Art Trail before?
This is the third time that I am participating in the show. I’ve become more confident with each event. I think that because it’s open to both professionals, amateurs, hobbyists, whoever, that there’s less pressure to produce something absolutely exhibition perfect – unless you want to, of course!

However, this year I am also participating as part of Image 17, a photography group, in the group exhibition Meet. It’s about documenting some of the huge range of local groups, societies, clubs and we have in the borough. I must admit that I do feel more stressed about this. Apart from exhibiting with my peers, outsiders will also be scrutinising the work photographically. It’s scary, but in an exciting way.

4. How does your work this year relate to your previous artistic practice?
I suppose that the work this year and last are connected by things close to me – ‘home’ is translated directly as my own surroundings. Last year’s project, called Forty Lives, related to my friends, all in their forties, and the things we’re experiencing at this time. Forty Lives is really an ongoing study, taking images of women in their forties and gathering information on their life stories so far together with their ambitions for the future. I’d like to develop this into an exhibition in its own right. The irksome problem of earning a living just gets in the way! Prior to that my first exhibition featured images that played with light and texture through glass and plants and was me exploring what I could do with my camera combined with an area of interest.

5. What challenges (if any) do you face in realising this work?
Time! When preparations for the Trail began in the spring I was thinking, there’s lots of time and here we are with just a couple of weeks to go and I’m still agonising over which images to include in the montage!

6. Who is this work for?
This year, it’s really just for me and my family. It’s an opportunity to create something that I will be able to hang at home and give to family and friends. Lots of ordinary people come along to the trail and hopefully they’ll recognise some of the situations in their own homes – kids playing with grandparents, opening Christmas presents, exhausted Dad sleeping, dressing up …
That’s the great thing about the Trail – no matter what level you’re operating at, just taking part and showing your work is a great thrill.

7. As well as being an artist what else do you do?
I work as a marketing consultant, using my writing and photography work to help businesses promote themselves more effectively. Many of my clients are in the creative industries and food sectors.

8. What is your favourite place in E17?
Can’t think of just one! Apart from where I live near Greenway Woods, it’s probably Walthamstow Market – whether you’re feeling flush or on a budget, there’s something for everyone!

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