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My Story

“Astonishing… This is art that has come from a long tradition in one way, and from a long period of introspection in another way… It establishes the rights of an individual to live, to be free, to flourish.” Peter Murray, art historian

  My name is Joanna Kaminska and I am the artist and designer behind Jokamin.

 


Everything I create tells a story. The magic begins with observation – a conversation overheard, a headline, a gesture, an expression. I paint what my intuition tells me, instinctively using a naïve style to express what I see, and what I feel is true. I work with water-based gouache paints for their rich opaqueness, often adding pastels or acrylics.

My work is quirky, thought-provoking and sometimes nostalgic, with roots in the graphic art and animation tradition of Poland. It makes people laugh, reflect and connect with their own inner world. 

 

Nothing To Wear

“Like many self-taught artists, Jokamin shoots from the hip and paints from the heart, empathically appealing to women and men caught in a state of transition.” Image Interiors and Living 

Creative expression gives meaning to my life, but there was a time when it seemed to be snuffed out for good.

As a child in Poland I was always painting. I would visit the potter who lived beneath us, forming clay figurines and firing them in his kiln. I remember hours spent immersed in my grandparents’ collection of art books, slowly turning their pages. Art opened windows to other worlds.

Then adulthood kicked in and my creativity disappeared.

With thoughts of a ‘proper career’ I studied journalism and German, but when a relationship led me to New York I found myself working for a travel agency, a jeweller, a gynaecologist. After three years in America we returned to Poland, before eventually settling in Cork, Ireland, where my two sons were born.

A full-time mum in a new country, I felt disconnected and far from my dreams; my inner magic was diminishing. Something was knocking at my consciousness but I didn’t know what. Thankfully, my mother saw it and urged me back to creating.

I picked up my brushes and began pouring all my feelings of loneliness, sadness and isolation into paintings. Slowly everything started to change. I began to think about what I wanted from life, and who I wanted to be.

 

I knew that I needed to find confidence. I have scoliosis, a curvature of the spine which I was told could have meant life in a wheelchair. The treatment I received as a child left me traumatised, and I searched for a way to uncover my strength. I found it in aikido, a non-violent martial art that changed me from being a victim to a woman with inner power – I fly through the air. And I gained the self-belief to begin selling my art.

I started from scratch, selling salt dough angels at a tiny local market before beginning to share my paintings. People wanted to buy them, and I set up my first online shop.


“I believe that Joanna’s story and my own converged at the right moment for her to let go of the piece and for me to take it in and I now have the great joy of seeing this original piece hanging in my home.” J. Fortune, Ireland


Now my art is collected around the world. My paintings have grown into a collection that includes prints, silk scarves, dolls, cushions, notebooks and bags, many of which are sold at the National Gallery of Ireland. I am proud to work with local producers and printers who share my commitment to the highest quality.

“Truly the most beautiful things I have bought in a long time.” A. Scally, Ireland

“I love and collect different pieces of Joanna’s work, many of which are close to my heart.” K. Magippinto, USA

“It is a scarf that makes me smile even when it is not being worn as it hangs on the back of my bedroom door, bringing a little bit of Joanna’s quirky world into my daily life.” C. Kareem, Ireland


My art is and was my journey home; Ireland is where I belong. But more than that, my art healed me, and I believe this is why it resonates with others, sparking moments of self-discovery. We all go through challenges in life. We are all connected on some level. We are all in search of magic.

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FEATURED IN:

  • "Image" magazine 
  • "Irish Times" magazine
  • "Gloss" Magazine
  • "Image Interiors & Living"
  • "Munster Interiors"
  • "Irish Country Magazine"
  • "Sunday Business Post Magazine"
  • "Irish Examiner" 
  • "Evening Echo"

PUBLISHED IN:

  • “Cheltenham Illustration Annual” 
  • “Pocketful Illustration Magazine” 
  • "Image" magazine

EXHIBITIONS:

  • "Turn to the Ordinary" - Cork Craft & Design Showcase,  Cork -  2018
  • "The Language of Colour" - Etain Hickey's gallery, Clonakilty - 2018
  • Quay Coop Restaurant, Cork - 2017 
  • Cork School of Music, Ireland – 2016
  • The Wilson Art Gallery & Museum, Cheltenham, UK 2014
  • Royal Dublin Society for Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2013