Written by Standard Issue


SIM Illustrated: Joanna Neary

We’re lucky enough to have a cracking team of illustrators at Standard Issue and thought it was about time we got to know them a bit better as well as admiring their work. Allow us to do the introductions between you and Joanna Neary.

jo neary1 slatternName: Joanna Neary

Age: 43

Location: Brighton and surrounding area

Official job title: Comedian and actress

What was the first thing you wanted to be? A ballerina

When did you know you wanted to be an artist/illustrator? When my mum used to draw us. It’s like being massaged by a pair of eyes, very hypnotic. I used to draw the unruly kids when I was an art teacher. It sedated them.

What’s your strongest memory from school/education? Loving learning and being ‘good at art’ but rubbish at sport. I used to get A for effort, E for achievement.

When you’re not working, what else do you like to do? Reading about how to be Chic Like a Parisian whilst wearing a heart-covered dressing gown and eating a pickled onion.

What has been your proudest creative moment to date? Completing the writing of my Celia character for the first time [see http://www.joneary.com/home.html]. It was elating and I’ll never forget the feeling of having brought something into the world that didn’t exist before. It was better than when I finished my 1940s four-ply Fair Isle mittens and that was good too. Those didn’t exist till I made them, either.

What would you like to erase from your past? My selfishness and lack of insight. Utterly terrible exes, of course. But without them I might not be happily where I am today, or appreciate what I have. So thank you, cruel ones. I got away in the end.

What brings you the most joy? Pretending to be two snowmen at once for my family.

What makes you angry? My family.

Professionally, who has been your biggest inspiration? Joyce Grenfell.

Have you ever met someone who made you go weak at the knees? No.

What advice would you give a woman who wants a career in illustration/design? Oh dear, sorry, I’m not really the one to ask. Go to Art School and keep learning, draw every day? That’s a start, I suppose.

How do you define success? Being able to work at something you love and make enough of a living off it to survive, whilst being very free and happy. Corny but that’s how I feel.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever had? Go self-employed. And don’t expect anything, then you can’t be disappointed.

Jo in a fancy dress contestWhat’s your favourite photograph? (And can we see it?) Me and my brother winning a fancy dress competition. There were three prizes and three entrants. We came first and second.

Where did you go on your favourite holiday? Nice, for our honeymoon. We took the bus to Menton, Antibes and Vence and saw Picasso, Chagall, Matisse and Jean Cocteau museums and chapels. Plus a Russian Orthodox Church. I always like to be quite busy on holiday; we were meant to go to Thailand but it was ‘Ashed Off’. I think I would have been bored after 13 days of swimming and eating.

Who can’t you live without? Myself, scientifically. But I’d miss Pad and Toots, terribly.

What can’t you live without? Oxygen, water and art.

Joneary2 - slattern 2What do you consider your greatest achievement? Still being alive after doing many stupid things. Like going into a madman’s house to do a survey and going clubbing with strangers. And walking through Falmouth at 3am because it felt nice. I wish we could all wander about at night; it’s ever so peaceful if you’re drunk enough to not be fearing for your life.

Which song could be used to soundtrack your life so far? Modern Girl by Sleater-Kinney.

Of all the illustrations you’ve done for Standard Issue Magazine, which is your favourite? The first one of Margaret Cabourn-Smith, flicking the V’s (see main image) at housework. She said I managed to draw a person who looked like me AND her.

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Written by Standard Issue