Art in the Cafe: Jo Van Kampen

Saturday 1st July - Thursday 31st August

Jo  has been a professional Artist for the last 30 years, she grew up in a tiny village near Thirsk in North Yorkshire, and now lives in Barnard Castle, a pretty rural town in Teesdale.

Private commissions have always been the mainstay of her work, many of which go to America.

Jo creates art which captures the detail and soul in each piece, as well as painting a beautiful work of art. Inspired by Archibald Thorburn as a child, her style is fresh yet her pieces have a classic style.

Her private commissioned work is hung all over the world.

She has a number of limited edition prints for sale by the leading country publisher Sally Mitchell Fine Arts.

Jo was honoured to be headhunted by The British Kennel Club in 2006 to produce a large contract of around 255 separate colour illustrations, of all the current registered breeds of dogs. It took 2 years to produce! These were showcased for the first time at the 2008 Crufts dog show . They can be seen in the ‘Discover Dogs’ publications and still used exclusively on the British KC website on the breed pages.

Jo’s other love is the beautiful natural countryside in Teesdale, and the flora and fauna which live within it. This eye for detail and colour is captured enchantingly in the silk floral art Jo produces. A totally unique art form Jo invented for herself whilst being inspired riding her horses through the lanes and fields, this captures as realistically as possible the delicateness of flower petals, leaves, grasses, and even tiny moths and other little creatures, using torn ribbons of white silk which she then hand dyes individually and sews into hessian. Every flower is absolutely botanically accurate, enhanced by single strands of silk thread and tiny beads.

Another element of her work involves illustrations for recognised dog breed Standards. These are in pen and ink. The key to this type of work is not only the artistic talent needed to produce ’arty’ images, but the accuracy and understanding of the anatomy and structure. These typically contain up to 50 mono colour illustrations for publication, depicting the correct points and common faults of the particular breed.

Her first illustrated book published by HarperCollins publishers, on dog behaviour written by Sarah Whitehead, called ‘Clever Dog‘, Jo produced 56 illustrations on a very tight schedule!

Jo loves doing her art, her lifetime study of her work is obvious in every single piece, which are truly beautiful. In three decades she has never had an unhappy customer! Jo will be sitting up into the early hours for a long time yet, painting under the light of her lamp.

  • Cafe Wall