On the Couch with Jo Darvall

Jo Darvall Arts Review On the CouchWho is Jo Darvall?
An Australian artist who is exhibiting at Sagra Art Gallery, Malvern.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I think I would be answering this question not from my kitchen table, but from 10 kilometres up in the air on my private jet. Right now I’m thrilled to receive funding from the Government of Western Australia, Department of Culture and the Arts to bring the exhibition, Reckless Romantics to Melbourne – not quite the jet, but things are looking up!

Who inspires you and why?
Beatrice Derbyshire, Kathleen O’Connor, Clarice Beckett, Jessie Trail – they are a few female artists who are beacons of inspiration, particularly O’Connor who pushed through wars, a conservative critical homeland, with minimal financial support and determination to forge an artistic career. She achieved a creative life with elegance and a sense of humor… she spent 50 years abroad between the wars exhibiting with Renoir, Dufy etc…

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I am the founder of AKC along with Bernie Jones, David Larwill and other fine individuals. It was a direct effort to change the world via an annual auction of donated artworks, raising money for disadvantaged kids. The charity is still going strong and so far has raised millions of dollars, and distributed almost all of it to hundreds of kids. I am, however always ready to do more, and donate numerous artworks every year to other charities.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I have to say I feel like I don’t have holidays… it seems I am always working on one art project or another no matter where I am… I like to walk the dogs down the beach and have dinner with my family. Recently I have been traveling mainly in South-East Asia exhibiting – it’s cheaper to travel to Asia from Perth than to Melbourne! Reckless Romantics theme was inspired from beautiful coastal and bush locations we visited last December on a drive from Brisbane to Melbourne.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
In WA the first thing to do is just go outside and experience the enormous blue sky and the expanse of the horizon. Near to where we live CY O’Connor Beach is a good start with a stunning clear blue water beach looking west out to Garden Island. There’s a sad story associated with the name of the beach but it’s just one of the many endless beaches here. Actually this story was the theme of my exhibition in in 2014. The Pilbara is also unbelievably beautiful with wide expanses of gold spinifex draped over deep red ranges that turn purple at dawn and dusk.

What are you currently reading?
Still Life with Teapot by Bridget Lowry (Fremantle Press used one of my watercolour paintings for the book cover) and Hope Farm by Peggy Frew.

What are you currently listening to?
I was a social friend and fan of Maurice Frawley, Australian rock and country blues singer-songwriter and guitarist who died in 2009. The series of hand made artist prints Beastly Fairy Tales in the exhibition, Reckless Romantics pays tribute to Frawley’s reckless romantic nature and endurance in the arts industry.

Happiness is?
Making a great painting, which I am always in the studio trying to achieve this… and spending time with my Family.

What does the future hold for you?
At the end of this year I have been invited to Singapore for a residency and a collaborative exhibition with Shih Yun – a respected Singaporean artist at the Australian Consulate in Singapore.

Jo’s latest exhibition, Reckless Romantics is currently on display at Sagra Gallery, 258 Glenferrie Road, Malvern until 30 July 2016. For more information, visit: www.jodarvall.com for details.

Image: Jo Darvall – photo by Bo Wong