artist bio | JO TEMMING
Jo Temming’s unconventional life has greatly influenced her art. She was born in Seoul, South Korea and after being abandoned at an orphanage when she was four years old, Jo was adopted by an American family and raised in the Midwest. Her home life was extremely difficult, so academics became her sanctuary, resulting in her starting college at thirteen, while simultaneously completing high school, where her journey as an artist began. Jo was extremely fortunate to be instructed and mentored by the district arts coordinator, who believed in her talent enough to submit her portfolio to the Kansas City Art Institute. As a result, Jo received a scholarship to the KCAI’s development program for promising high school students where she learned a wide variety of print making process including silk screening, lithographs, and etchings. Upon completing high school and having already completed her general coursework for college, Jo enrolled in a graphic design program. After a few semesters in design school, she realized that a career in graphic design would compromise her desire to become a fine artist. As with many young artists, she had the skills and time, but lacked the financial resources to create the type of art she was drawn to, so she delayed pursuing a career in art and entered the corporate world.
Wanting to balance her creative and analytical skills, so she returned to college to obtain a bachelors and master in business. Jo utilized what she calls her “combination of white collar education, blue collar work ethic, and black collar creativity” to quickly advance through a series of corporate and agency positions, working with a wide range of industries and companies. Always in pursuit of challenge and adventure, Jo inevitably made the entrepreneurial leap and bought her first company. Jo’s interest in entrepreneurship eventually evolved from owning and operating, to investing in companies, so she transitioned from direct company ownership to forming her own private equity firm to invest in, mentor, and consult emerging companies.
Jo’s businesses and entrepreneurial successes provided her with the financial resources to create her art as a respite. Whenever possible, she continued to experiment with the creative processes that led her to invent new techniques, develop her skills, and refine her aesthetic. Eventually, her business successes allowed her to reach the intersection of having both the time and resources to shift her focus to her art. However, because of Jo’s head for business and heart for the world, she continues to be involved with a number of executive organizations, board of directors, advisory boards, investment groups, international think tanks and non-profits.
Jo has always embraced the “beautiful chaos” that is her life and is unfazed by the challenges of an emerging artist later in life. She is convinced that her unconventional journey provided the freedom for her to experiment and explore, and allowed her style of artwork to develop organically without the pressure of having to create art solely for commercial and financial gains. Her art can sometimes appear to be simplistic, but the techniques she utilizes requires countless hours of experimentation and repetition to develop and refine. Most of her methods are time, labor, and resource intensive and often require her to custom-build tools and equipment. She is also meticulous in finishing most of her pieces in a way that makes framing optional, and not required for display.
Jo is unusual in that she doesn’t measure her success as an artist by fame, fortune, or even appreciation, but rather in the joy of transforming her ideas into tangible forms. She considers it a great honor each time someone engages with her artwork – whether they like it or not. She believes that art in general is deeply experiential, and that her art specifically, has characteristics that are difficult to photograph and are best viewed in person for the full effect. Because of this, her artwork is not sold online at this time and is only available through placement agents, private events and shows.
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