Jo Smith: Seagrass Art Studio

Si Hall interviews local artist, Jo Smith of West Kirby based Seagrass Studio Gallery.

Seagrass Art Studio

Art has been an integral part of your life so becoming an artist as a profession was a natural step, was it difficult to get started and be taken seriously?
The hardest thing (and probably remains so) was self-belief. Putting your work out there to be scrutinized is like putting a little bit of your soul on display and makes you feel very vulnerable. I therefore tested the waters slowly and carefully, but my enthusiasm and desire to create carried me forward thankfully.

Your artwork and jewellery reflect your passion for the natural world is there anywhere in the world you would like to go to and capture on canvas?
I love to go anywhere and everywhere! However, our own coastline continues to enthral and excite me as a subject, especially the ever changing and dramatic light. I feel a very strong connection to our local beaches having grown up in Hoylake, just a minute from the prom. One day perhaps I will make it to New Zealand though, and fall in love with a whole new coast.

People throughout history have often used art to express themselves and their innermost feelings, is this why you trained as a counsellor and now hold Intuition Art Therapy sessions?
I experienced several losses in my youth and I had the help and support from a counsellor an art therapist. I was so overwhelmed by my grief but art helped me to process it. It is a remarkably powerful healing tool and I felt compelled to train in it.

Why do you think that art works so well in this context?
Working with art within a therapeutic context is effective as it enables the maker to express sometimes very painful emotions in a safe and non-invasive manner. It has the power to change and heal its creator.

Do you think that we all have an artistic side to our personalities?
I absolutely believe that we are all innately creative/ artistic – all children create and draw – as we become adults, it continues to manifest through gardening, cooking, knitting etc, even if we no longer put pen to paper.

When you’re not working how do you like to relax?
I love to walk, on the beach especially, or in the woods; anywhere in nature. Reading in the sunshine is another favourite pastime.

If you could buy any piece of art in the world, what would it be and why?
I went to a Paul Klee exhibition a few years ago. There were hundreds of paintings but one literally moved me to tears. It was, “Summer House,” a small abstract in the most heavenly shades of old rose pink! It evoked such powerful emotions that even thinking about it now, I can access those feelings of love, connection, family.

As a mother running a business what is your biggest challenge?
My business has evolved in line with my growing children’s needs, and has thus grown accordingly; slowly but with determination. The challenge has always been a juggling act but thankfully one which is succeeding.

How do you see your future work evolving?
My work evolves all the time. At the moment I am fascinated by light on water, but I’m visiting Mexico soon and perhaps the landscapes and colours may influence my work. I am better known for my recognisable local landscape paintings but I also yearn to work more playfully, on a huge scale and really splash the paint about!

What would you like to achieve that you haven’t already?
I would like to take a qualification to work specifically with children using art therapy. I’m a volunteer bereavement support worker for CRUSE and it would be a great asset.

What’s your favourite holiday destination – and do you take your sketch book with you or do you switch off altogether?
Anywhere sunny! I always take sketch books but don’t always use them.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
A large glass of Malbec and feet up in front of “First Dates,” a wonderfully feel good series.

What’s your favourite type of food and do you eat out a lot or prefer to eat at home?
I adore Spanish tapas and Mexican cuisine. We are blessed with some fabulous restaurants on the Wirral, so it would be rude not to frequent them occasionally!

To find out more about Jo, visit: