Meet the Artist: Jo Moniz


Jo Moniz, Aero, 2012, Mixed Encaustic on rice paper, 72 x 62 inches

Jo Moniz, a Pacific Northwest based artist, is currently exhibiting her work at our McGraw café. According to Jo, the featured work was influenced by “aerial views of flattened lands with distant horizons illuminated by the clear eastern sky.” Jo recently shared with us about unearthing inspiration, communing with her favorite artists, and creating in the kitchen.

How did you decide to show your work at Macrina Bakery? 

When I was showing at the Shift [Collaborative Studio] in Pioneer Square I met another artist, Ellen Hochberg, who said that Macrina was curating artists to show at their locations. I have always been a Macrina fan and have been making cakes and other goodies from my Macrina cookbook for years, so I thought it would be fun to show with you.

On your website, you talk about finding inspiration for your work in the world around you. How has this inspiration evolved throughout your career?  

I think that the biggest shift in my inspiration has actually just come from trusting my instincts more as I grow more confident. I let ideas come to the surface instead of thinking about whether they are worthy or not.

Is there a place that inspires you the most?  

I really don’t find that I am necessarily inspired to make art by a “place.” Any place that I find myself in a happy frame of mind is inspiring. It’s really internal for me.

In addition to drawing, painting, and sculpture, you have a background in architecture. What’s your favorite medium?  

I have been concentrating on encaustic medium right now. I find it just endlessly capable of new applications in my work. I love layering the paint and seeing what happens to the texture and color. I use architectural shapes in my paintings and actually use my triangles and rulers to etch lines into the surface.

What’s your creative process?  

I typically make some very general sketches quickly and go right to the panel and start drawing in graphite. I really don’t worry too much about the final colors at the beginning. Every color and shape changes the adjacent ones, so its like one giant puzzle which I try to solve. I think about the texture and the color of each segment of the drawing. I don’t like my paintings to look like they were time consuming; I like them to feel fresh, even if a painting takes me weeks.

If you could enjoy a meal with three artists, living or deceased, who would they be?

That’s a tough one and hard to narrow down, but if I can’t have a banquet table with more artists for a meal, I would choose Jaume Plensa, because I am really drawn to his sculpture for its bravery and beautiful forms. [Paul] Gauguin would be at the table for his free spirit and his love of color and nature. Ai Weiwei would fill the last spot for his ability to think so clearly and freely about his art.

Is there anything else you would like share with our readers?  

If you can’t make it into your neighborhood Macrina, make Leslie Mackie’s Lemon-Sour Cherry Coffee Cake. You won’t be sorry!

You can find Jo’s work at our McGraw café through the end of May. Jo is preparing for a two-person show with artist Jane Richlovsky at Seattle Art Museum’s TASTE Restaurant in June.