Artist of the Week: Joni Brown

by | January 23, 2023

Joni Brown is a visual artist.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a first-year student at LMH, studying Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Art. Previously to university I took a foundation year in Art and Design, specialising in Fine Art, and spent a lot of my time walking the Coast Path of Cornwall, sketching along the way. I was an ambassador for the Royal West of England Academy of Art, as well as campaigning for and running various art clubs in my hometown, with a focus on access to the arts. My work is currently exhibiting in the John Hedjuk exhibition ‘We Built This City’, at the Royal Academy of Arts.

What’s your artistic process like?

My process varies depending on the project, but my focus on abstraction means I often favour reducing my subjects to minimal forms, lines and colours, contrasting to their original realism but still holding a sense of the purpose behind the piece. Lots of my large scale paintings derive from sketches and collages that I create, focussing on the areas of pattern and texture that most excite me. Often one subject will be reiterated over and over again until I feel a sense of completion has been achieved and the process can move on, which can be exhausting at times but is worth it to see the development of my concepts.

What are you working on at the moment?

Currently I am interested conceptually in the process of decay, and visually in the use of non-permanent materials that have textures and movement to reflect this concept. My work has been moving towards experiments in food and sweets, incorporating jelly, marzipan and lychee juice into my work as bases to paint on and with. During Michaelmas term I spent a lot of time creating frames out of blocks of marzipan, inspired by memories of sickly marzipan fruits as a child. A reflection on the concepts of xenogenders and the relationship between fruits and femininity, I have more plans to incorporate marzipan and icing into my work moving forwards.

Who are your biggest influences, and why?

I’m really intrigued by the collaborative work of Lazy Mom, inspired by their blend of the conceptual persona of the character behind the artwork with the uncomfortable and subverted presentation the visual appearance of their pieces evokes. I’m also fascinated by Janine Antoni’s ‘Gnaw’, and Zoe Leonard’s ‘Strange Fruit’, in their abilities to evoke this desire to both recoil and draw closer to the edible materials in their work.

Where can you see yourself going in the future?

By far my intention for the future is to work as a practising artist; making work collaboratively and independently, involving myself both in the presentation of my own work and curation of others in exhibitions, and continuing to develop my practice by pushing my approaches to painting and explorations of different mediums. ∎

Photography by Faye Song. 

Recent marzipan art (photography by Joni Brown)