Jo Kitchen, born in 1996 lives and works in London. Kitchen graduated from Central Saint Martins with a degree in Fine Art. Blurring the lines between reality and fiction, Jo’s work flirts with the romance of the re-appropriated memory. Her work romanticises the haze of her own biographical experiences with that of her hyper-idealised hindsight. Her subject is sometimes reminiscent of an object-come-memory, rooted at first in the mundanity of the everyday; through emotional association, the artist elevates her subjects into objects of existential fiction – props in a narrative Kitchen is constantly re-writing.
Is there a message or thought you aim to provoke through your work at large?
I never set out to complete a painting with a finalised agenda in mind. The narratives in my work are constantly being re-written and re-developed as I work through them. My thoughts and ideas merge from day to day depending on what I’ve experienced or what I’ve been reading or what fragmented memories come to mind at the time of painting. I’m interested in how my ideas and memories get lost in this translation between my thought process and the act of painting. I suppose what I’m left with is an image of vaguely related truth, married with personal experience and re-written relocations, elevated to a hyper romanticised status.
Who are your biggest influences?
Patti Smith is the biggest influence to me. The descriptive language she uses throughout her poetry and writing has had a huge impact on my work. Those moments in-between life and art that I focus on throughout my work, she also writes about. The detail in how she describes, for example the relationship she forms with a certain seat in a certain cafe, in which she sits almost religiously at, and the prominence she attaches to that object at that time, is similar to how I think and treat the objects in my paintings.
What would your dream freelance job be and why?
That’s a difficult one, I’ve never really thought about it. I find it really difficult to separate my time away from doing anything other than painting, so I can’t think of anything I would rather be doing than what I currently do.
What are you reading, watching or listening to at the moment that inspires you?
I listen to a lot of Jazz whilst painting and recently rekindled my love for Herbie Hancock, which then led me to his music videos which I’ve now become obsessed with.
A lot of my imagery is conjured up through writing short texts so i’ve also recently been reading a lot of poetry to influence the structure of my writing.
Where does your passion for your craft derive from?
My family have always had an interest in art, my dad is a painter and his dad before him was also a painter, so I guess I’ve always been surrounded by it.
My dad was also in a small band in the 80s which triggered his passion for music as well as art, so I’ve have grown up in a household where expressing yourself in any art form is very much encouraged.
My background was originally in sculpture, having studied it at Central Saint Martins. After my degree though I segued into painting. Partly to accommodate for the smaller space I now had in my studio in Hackney I naturally ended up translating my ideas into painting, which then progressively led to becoming the main focus of my practice.
Any exciting plans for the future you would like to share?
I have a Zine being released with ‘Soon We’ll Be Dead’ in Brooklyn which I’m really excited about. I’ve never had a body of work collated in a publication before, so this will be my first.
I’m also releasing a book that I’ve been collaborating on with two close friends, a poet and photographer. It will be the first time I’ll be sharing my mono prints publicly, so I’m excited for that to be finalised and released.
I have another duo show confirmed with Emmely Elgersma, which will hopefully be happening around March time.
And finally, I have plans to move to Paris in 2021. It’s the first time I will be living and painting abroad, so I’m excited to see how the city and culture will reflect and influence my future work.