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
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
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
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!