Tuesday, November 30, 2021

25 Questions with Painter Jodi Kitto-Ward

When Ottawa Street’s Earls Court Gallery realized that they had a vacancy in their exhibition schedule, they knew they wanted to spend the time showcasing artists they hadn’t yet had the opportunity to bring together. The result is ENCOUNTER an online and in-person exhibition running until November 20, 2021.

Jodi Kitto-Ward is one of the four artists featured in this exhibition. Chosen for her fresh perspective as a painter, Kitto-Ward’s work offers another way of observing life to inspire connective thinking. Inspired by the city, much of her work are landscapes and urban views. In addition to being featured in ENCOUNTER at Earls Court Gallery, Jodi Kitto-Ward’s work can also be purchased through the Art Gallery of Hamilton.

Beyond James posed 46 questions to Jodi Kitto-Ward from our question bank, and asked her to pick and choose which questions she wished to answer (minimum of 15). The unedited responses formulate the interview below.

1. How did you end up in Hamilton?
I followed my love Jeff to Hamilton, he was living in the west end when we first started dating and now we have a home here together.

2. What would people be surprised to learn about you?
My two babies (now 17 and 14) came very premature for no apparent reason, both born at 29 weeks and both now completely healthy. A truly life changing experience, twice.

3. What musical instrument do you secretly long to play?
The violin, it’s so expressive and moving.

4. What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Hold my Mom’s hand as she passed away.

5. What three people would join you for your dream dinner party?
John Malkovich, Joni Mitchell & Georgia O’Keeffe.

6. Name one thing that you took for granted in 2019 that you now miss.
Being able to see everyone’s faces.

7. What is your signature meal to cook at home?
Chili.

8. At what point in your life did you realize that you wanted to pursue the arts professionally?
After the first exhibition I was in, I was hooked. I absolutely loved being able to connect with people in this way.

9. Describe the moment you first recognized your success as an artist.
I was lucky enough to have Regina Haggo write of my artwork in her review that was published in the Hamilton Spectator. I am still very grateful for her support.

10. What is the best thing about your work?
It can be somewhat childlike in its simplicity.

11. What is the worst thing about your work?
It can be somewhat childlike in its simplicity.

12. What do you like to listen to?
Classic rock, I was a child of the late sixties and seventies.

13. What is your favourite piece of art?
That’s seriously difficult, I could never pick just one. Though of special significance is the painting Une Baignade, Asnières by George Seurat. It was part of the art auction board game Masterpiece. I never learned to play that game properly as a kid, because I was too busy looking at the art.

14. Name the artist whose work you most admire.
Lawren Harris, I love his simplified shapes and his authentic evolution in his paintings. His use of colour touches one’s soul.

15. Describe your artistic style in three words.
Representational, vibrant and simplified.

16. Name three books that you read that have really made an impact on you/your life/your career.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, Concerning the Spiritual in Art by Wassily Kandinski and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

17. What medium is your favourite to work with?
Acrylic on canvas.

18. What medium is your least favourite to work with?
Oil.

19. How did you first get involved with Earls Court Gallery?
After I had previously expressed interest in exhibiting at Earls Court Gallery, I was asked to take part in the Encounter Exhibition and jumped at the opportunity.

20. What excites you the most about the Encounter’s Exhibit?
With such an eclectic exhibition, I was impressed with the title “Encounter” chosen by Andrea Jackman, Curator at Earls Court Gallery. It works perfectly with each painting, and describes the eventual encounter one has with oneself when viewing art.
It’s most exciting just being involved with an in person show, amongst such talented artists in a beautiful gallery.

21. What is your favourite piece that you contributed to the show?
That’s always tough to say as a relationship exists with each one, though Flower Song was especially fun to see evolve through the different stages of the painting process. I believe taking the time to really look and take in the beauty of flowers can bring us in harmony with nature and with ourselves.

22. What does your art mean to you?
Freedom, hope, expression.

23. Any other recent or upcoming projects?
In addition to working on an existing series called Dwellings, I recently began a series titled The Turning Point. As Irwin Edman’s quote says “Life is always at some turning point.” I’m also excited about another upcoming series that encompasses forests and the elements of design.

24. What are three things that make you love living in Hamilton?
The Bruce Trail, the character of the houses here and the way the city has a timelessness to it.

25. How has living in Hamilton shaped your work?
There is true inspiration here, everywhere you look you can feel it. It’s in the people, the natural beauty and the city itself.

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