Joanna Graham (known as Little Jo) is a self taught artist from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.

Jo has had a love for art and creativity since childhood, and started her artistic career in 2004 when she got a job in a Tattoo studio in the town. She worked there for several years as the receptionist and body piercer, and designed and drew up custom tattoo designs and cover ups. She decided in 2015 to leave and pursue her own artistic path after discovering a love of drawing portraits which lead to her taking commissions.

Jo’s passion for old keys, which are a signature feature of her original pieces, comes from her childhood memories of home and places she grew up in. The keys also serve as a powerful symbol for expressing her voice, thoughts and feelings, around life experiences that have lead to a more positive outlook.

She continues to hold a passion for producing lifelike portraits which is a large basis of her commission works. She loves to tune in to her subjects in a bid to not only capture likeness but also character.

Alongside her portrait work Jo is heavily inspired by the historical market town she grew up in and the quirky old Victorian house in which she spent her earliest years. The history of her home felt magical and mysterious to her which sparked her imagination, and helped to create an important thread that runs through her artwork. Jo’s favourite medium to work in is Pencil, and she is starting to increasingly enjoy painting in Acrylic, Watercolour and mixed media.

Positive mindset, good mental well-being, and following ones own truth is something Jo feels very passionate about. Through her artwork she hopes to offer others another perspective, to help encourage a more positive understanding of our own emotions and feelings.

She has spoken about her artwork on Radio shows, The Midweek Morning Show with Adrian Copping on RWSfm, BBC Upload with Sophie Little on BBC Radio Suffolk and Norfolk, and Women Making Waves on Cambridge 105 Radio. She has also had featured interviews in the Cambridge Independent, Bury Free Press, East Anglian Daily Times newspapers, and Velvet Magazine.

Artist Statement

As an Artist, my mission is to promote positive mindset and mental well-being, and to help inspire people to believe in their own self worth. By sharing my own truth through my artwork, I hope to help people liberate themselves of limiting beliefs.

I feel very passionate that everybody should feel safe and able to follow their passions and what feels right for them, and my artwork helps me to express what I wish to share around my own feelings, values and experiences honestly in order to convey my belief that life is about embracing the journey, feeling the fear and doing it anyway, and the lessons learnt along the way. I believe positives can be found under the surface of seemingly negative experiences that can help us grow and evolve into becoming the best version of ourselves.

My chosen subjects have deep roots in my childhood and as well as being deeply and personally nostalgic to me, help me to express my voice, and what I feel really matters in life. My hope is that the values and messages I share with my artwork will positively enlighten and inspire the viewer, help them to feel empowered to live the life they choose and to take positive action towards following their true north and shining their own light.

We all have so much potential inside us waiting to be unlocked and so much to give, and when our cup is full we have plenty to share with the world, to help make it a better place. My work is intended to have a positive influence and I hope it will open up and inspire your mind, and help you to realise you have the ability to unlock your own potential.