Sunday, 30 October 2011

Q & A with Josie McCoy

Josie McCoy is an award winning painter. Most of her portraits are of well known faces from off the telly. She says her work aims to "explore ideas of desire, reality, identity and art’s relationship to popular culture imagery." You can find out more by visiting

I asked her a few questions about her recent activities...

The Rebel: How much of your life is taken up with painting? Do you relate to Tracey Emin's "I Need Art Like I Need A God"?
Josie: "Nearly all of my life is taken up with painting, and if not doing it, then thinking about it."

Who were your art heroes when you were growing up and which contemporary artists do you rate now?
"I loved the impressionists when I was young, especially Degas and Cezanne. I also loved Vermeer.
I like a lot of contemporary artists, and particularly rate Michael Borremans, Ken Currie, Marlene Dumas, Jenny Saville, James Reilly and Gerhart Richter."

How easy was it to do your self portrait / was it something you enjoyed doing or was it just hard work?
"It was quite an eerie experience to paint the self portrait. It is 15 x 15cm , linen on MDF panel. It was only after I started it that I realised it was life size. I was documenting it on a plinth in the studio and actually felt beheaded! I have only worked on linen a few times, so it was a bit of a struggle to paint as I´m so familiar with working on sized cotton duck, and I had a to adapt the layering to allow for the smooth surface of the primed linen."

What can you tell me about Johnny Depp? Have his good looks and charm captured your foolish heart?
"Ah yes, he has my heart. But it´s painting his glasses that I´m enchanted by."

Have you been recession hit? Are you suffering in this current financial climate or are you like the proverbial cat with all the cream?
"The recession hit me really shockingly hard for a year and a half. I couldn´t understand what had happened! Some nice press mentions and some very nice new and previous collectors have made it all a lot better. So I haven´t got the cream, but I hope I´ve lost that panic look in my eyes."

What were the highs and lows of your art education?
"The highs definitely include my MA show at CSM, and there were some fantastic moments when I was getting to grips with paint during my BA course at Solihull. The lows don´t need to be remembered."

(Above: Winona Ryder 40cm x 40cm Oil on canvas 2002)
What art mags do you read? Are there any art critics you ave any time for?
"I´m a bit too eclectic in my tastes to say."

What's the punch line of your favourite joke?
"No tomatoes!"

(Above: "Pat Evans" from Eastenders. 135cm x 135cm 1999 oil on canvas)

What's your favourite tipple? And when was the last time you over indulged and abused your body with alcohol?
"White wine, Friday night."

What do you want out of life? Do you have a head full of dreams?
"To live happily ever after. Right now, my head is brimming full of pictures."

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