I met Jocelyn Rossiter through ATCs for All (atcsforall.com), an artist trading card site. We have done personal trades, been in swaps together, and she has been in a couple of my swaps. I have noticed in the year and a half that I've had the pleasure of knowing Joss that her style has just become stronger and deeper, and I've been blown away by the art she is creating. I know she has recently had local success in showing her art, as well as success in selling her work on line. I wanted to interview Joss not only as a way to help promote her and her artwork, but also to pick her brain about how she creates such brilliant pieces. I often talk here about how I struggle with finding a creative style, so I want to talk to Joss about how she developed hers.
Where do you live? Tell us a little about yourself.
I live in London now, but was born and grew up in South Africa, during the difficult Apartheid years. We emigrated to England in 1986 due to the political unrest, and to this day, my heart remains in Africa! I think African women (particularly the rural people) are just amazing. Their fortitude and perseverance in the most dire of circumstances is truly admirable.
|Sisters in the Sun|
How did you become interested in art?
I always loved art, but couldn't draw a straight line a s a child. In fact I was told more than once that I was not artistic at all. I was fat, wore glasses, and very unhappy child. So I began to believe that I was completely useless, and my confidence was smashed on a daily basis.
After having a spinal operation in 2003 (I slipped my disc and was told I may never walk again after the surgery), I was recuperating slowly, but finding it difficult to stand or sit for long periods of time. My eldest son (who is very artistic himself), brought me some paintbrushes and an easel and acrylics and said, 'Draw, play around, it will help your recovery', and I just smiled wryly.
I felt sure that nothing could help the depression that had descended on my shoulders, but I played around with the paints anyway, and it was fun. Every time I stood before the easel and dabbled with the wonderful colours, I forgot the pain. I often look at these pieces and giggle. They were awful!
|Dancing in the Moonlight|
Are you self taught or formally trained (or both)?
In 2006, we moved to a new house and there was a Learning Centre nearby offering introductory Art lessons, which I attended for 3 months, then went back to work full time (fully recovered from my back surgery and other ensuing surgeries that followed). We drew with pencils, charcoal and inks, then went on to using watercolours, and eventually acrylics. I loved the lessons, and was sorry that I couldn't continue. But none of the styles really 'spoke' to me.
After a few years, I met up with this same Art teacher and decided to join another woman at her home, doing lessons, which I did for the next year. Again, we dabbled in lots of different media, and I found myself drawn to faces, and gradually to African faces in particular. After the lessons, I would go home and interpret what I had learnt into something with an African style.
What inspires you to start a piece?
An image, a face, a part of a painting, a picture, an idea in the middle of the night, something I see.
What media do you use, and what is your favorite?
I enjoy lost of different things. I use acrylics, watercolours, gouache, inks, sharpies and other markers. I also dabble in collage- but I like to mix my collage in with my painting.
What themes interest you most?
I find that faces and the human form, particularly with an emotional content always attract me. And of course all African art, masks, statues, dolls, tribal art, family art, faces etc (not landscapes- I am really not a landscape person.)
How would you say your style has developed over the years?
In leaps and bounds, from hardly being able to draw, to trying out all sorts of styles and media- flowers, still life, abstract- to eventually discovering my absolute love of all things 'African'. My style has been called 'raw and primitive' and I love that- it's a compliment.
Tell us about your recent local success in showing your artwork.
I was walking past a coffee shop in London a month ago and saw an advert in the window asking local Artists to bring their art in to possibly have it displayed in the shop. I rang the owner, sent him an email with my art, and he wrote back immediately saying he loved it and would like to display/hang it in his cafe. I am so excited and am delivering it to him today. It is such a proud and emotionally overwhelming day for me.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Yes. I am a teacher (part time now) and I always tell my students that they should keep trying, to endeavour to achieve their dreams and never give up. If I had listened to those people who told me I was useless at art, I wouldn't be here. If I had not taken the challenge my son gave me I wouldn't be here, and if I had not taken the risk to show my art on Etsy, so swap it with other wonderful artists round the world, I would not be here.
So keep on keeping on! Always try and try and try and never give up your dreams! It doesn't matter how old you are (I am 64), you are never to old to have fun, to start something new and even have people all over the world buy your art. (I have now sold 28 pieces of art on Etsy, to America, South Africa, Australia, Canada and Malaysia).
Check out more of Joss' art and get in touch with her!