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Monday, March 12, 2007

Interview with Jo Owens Murray

q)Introduce yourself first please?

a)Jo Owens Murray, a surrealist sculpture artist.

q)Where do you live and work?

a)I live in Skippack, Pennsylvania, a small town about 30 miles from Philadelphia. My studio is located in my home.

q)How did you started? How have you realized you wanted to become an artist?

a)I started doing photography in my teens and actually worked as a freelance photographer but also did abstract photography. After having studied art history in college, I began to work in assemblage sculpture. I am actually a self-taught artist since I have never taken studio art courses. My sculpture is entirely self-created.

q)What materials do you use and why?

a)Most of my sculptures are live-size women created by the use of jewelry and other found objects. I see that jewelry provides a commentary on the history of women since it has been used for centuries to enhance their appearance. In my view, my sculptures are like mosaics with individual beads like mosaic tiles all working together to create the larger image.

q)Who is your biggest influence, both art and non-art related?

a)I derive inspiration from a range of historical art including mosaics and religious art from the middle ages. I also believe that I am influenced by surrealist masters like Salvator Dali and Rene Magritte.
My non-art influences include reading the theories of Freud and Jung on dreams as well as the role of women in modern society.

q)How do you dream up with your wacky ideas? What is your creation process?

a)My work often starts with a single small object (a feather, a piece of jewelry) and the work evolves around it. In some ways, it is as though that single object is trying to tell me how it fits in a larger piece.

q)What haven’t you done yet that you definitely want to try someday?

a)I want to travel to more places and see the work of other artists (including some of the great museums of the world).

q)Are there any contemporary artists that you love?

a)Some of my favourite artists include Leo Weisz ( a 96-year old landscape and portrait artist), Karen Kappe Nugent (still lifes when she has time with her three young children), and Judith Schaechter (stained glass).

q)How long does it take for you to finish a piece?

a)This varies quite a bit depending on size and materials. Typically, a piece takes two to three months to finish.

q)What music, if any, do you like to have on while you're working?

a)Contemporary music.

q)Do you do many art shows?

a)I show regularly in galleries in New York. My next show is in April 2007 in Pleiades Gallery in Chelsea (a neighborhood of Manhattan). I also have work on exhibit in Ward-Nasse Gallery in Soho. Over the last few years, I have shown my work in a number of juried shows, galleries, and museum shows. My work is currently in the permanent collections of four museums including the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC.

q)Tell us about a recent dream you had.

a)I was riding on the roof of a car. I felt very free but I was concerned because I had no seatbelt. One of my sisters was driving and she told me not to worry since she was only going 60 miles per hour.

q)What are you doing when you are not creating?

a)Gardening, cooking.

q)Do you get emotionally attached to your work and do you miss your work when it is sold?

a)Yes, very much. The first piece I sold, I took about 70 photos before she left.

q)What new projects or exhibits are in your future?

a)I am currently preparing for my show in New York (April 3 to 21, 2007). This show will have about 30 of my sculptures in it so it is a major effort to prepare.

q)What is your favourite art related web site?

a)I am constantly looking for interesting things on the web and my tastes change frequently. One of my current favorites is Society for Art of Imagination ( Another one is Surrealism in the 21st Century (

q)What is the strangest thing you have ever seen?

a)Haven’t seen it yet. Although some contemporary art comes close.

q)What is the strangest thing you have ever done?

a)Spent a summer travelling with a carnival.

q)Any advice you can pass onto aspiring artists/designers?

a)Always start at the top – there are plenty of people already at the bottom.

My husband gave me some advice early in my career – he said, “stop trying to make art that you think will sell and just create what you feel.”

q)your contacts….e-mail…links

other links -
Ward-Nasse Gallery , New York, NY
Pleiades Gallery, New York, NY
Chelsea Art Galleries, New York, NY
Surrealism Now
World Wide Arts Resources
Women Artist Archive

The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, USA

International Sculpture Center

Fleisher Art Memorial, Phila USA

Da Vinci Art Alliance, Phila USA
Moore College of Art and Design, Phila USA

WomanMade Gallery, Chicago, Il
Society for Art of Imagination, London England


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