Joanna runs a weekly drop-in art class in Downhills Park Community Café. It’s a cosy, welcoming set-up attracting people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds from the local community.
The sessions are mainly focused on portraits, but Joanna does what she can to support people’s ideas. She suggests ways to learn, think outside the box and develop your own style in a very hands-on way.
Joanna says: “The atmosphere in the class is very relaxed and friendly. I find that after a long day at work, people mostly want to relax in an informal setting whilst focusing on art.”
A talented painter herself, Joanna is originally from Poland and has a passion for teaching and sharing her knowledge with others.
“I’ve always said that by applying certain methods and techniques, anyone can learn how to draw or paint. It’s not correct to think that you need to be born with skills. Everyone has a creative ability, it is just a matter of learning to connect with it. It is not the final destination which is important, but the journey.”
Love made Joanna settle in Tottenham, but she also spotted lots of opportunity in the area to develop her own artistic practice and interest in teaching. And the place has surprised her too.
“I was really surprised to discover how many people here are interested in art. I’ve discovered a community of artists through attending life drawing and watercolour classes, as well as holding my own class. There seems to be more and more happening in the art scene in the area with a changing demographic. It is exciting to see how it will develop in the future.”
She goes on to say: “To be honest, I’m still discovering Tottenham. The first place which was important for me, and where I had my first individual exhibition, was Craving Coffee. I found this to be a fantastic place for an artist who wants to present themselves in the local scene and network with others. Another I found when I first moved here was Karamel Café.”
Some of her work was recently on show at The Hive, Dalston in an exhibition called Breath and Dust, a group exhibition of international artists.
You’ll also be able to see her work at an exhibition at Pop Brixton from 10th to 16th February.
Words: Lydia Martin