Hello, I'm Jo, I run the HSA and I am also the Life Drawing tutor. I grew up in a house with accomplished, Artist parents in an environment that encouraged creative thinking, culture and artistic self-expression. So it’s little wonder that a childhood of drawing, reading and making led to studying Art as an adult.
After studying Sculpture and History of Art, I went on to the City & Guilds of London Art School, a wonderfully old-fashioned school that instilled in me the true value and discipline of good drawing skills - I absolutely loved it. After this came a fairly exploratory period of my life, living in far-flung places and experiencing as much unfamiliar culture as I could. Though I wasn’t studying art during these years, I never stopped drawing; the amount of notebooks and sketchbooks I lugged about is almost a thing of mythology. Once I was settled again, I went back to studying Life Drawing – it was the practice I’d missed the most and once I started, it never stopped, from that day to this.
I decided I wanted to concentrate my drawing into an Illustration practice, so in my mid-30’s I sold my flat in London, upped sticks and went to live in Cheltenham for 3 years, where I did an Illustration Degree. I learnt so much! One of the most influential of these lessons was being part of a small independent Art School there called the Cheltenham School of Fine Art. The spirit and creative energy that was bursting through those studio walls really gave me a taste for one day creating something similar of my own. The encouragement and knowledge I gained during our Life Drawing sessions was massively instrumental in me taking on my own classes, not just the drawing itself, but how to run a class, how to position a model, where and how to buy materials, what materials are the best to teach with etc. - the hands on experience I gathered has been invaluable and my bond with lovely Viv Ayres who runs the CSA will be as a lifelong friend & ally.
I love what I do and I love the people who come in and out of our little studio space. Watching an artist's progression, from day one to the final day of term, is a pride and a pleasure I shall never tire of.
If you are interested in seeing some of Jo's illustration work you can follow her on instagram: @buffaloboo or have a look at her website here: Boo Dillon Illustration.
N.b. Jo illustrates under the name of Boo Dillon - Boo/Boodles was a childhood nickname (that some still know her by) and Dillon was Jo's first surname.