Any person familiar with the work of Johanna Spinks will tell you the British born artist is as much a storyteller as she is a classically trained portrait artist. Whether she is bringing the vibrancy of a local community to life through her Face of Ventura and Face of Malibu portrait projects or expertly rendering a model in an imagined Parisian interior, Johanna’s work possesses a whimsical romantic quality that is the signature attribute of her award-winning style.
The artist’s life story serves as a good explanation for this. She started out telling stories as a young journalist who emigrated from the UK to New York at just 22 years old and later became a top Hollywood makeup artist, using her brushes to bring magazine pages, as well as TV and film, to life. When she decided to put down the powder brushes to pursue oil portraiture full time, it wasn’t long before she was receiving international acclaim and was featured in publications including The New York Times, American Artist Magazine and Art Talk. Johanna won The Daler Rowney Award for Painting Excellence at Oil Painters of America National Show in 2008. More recently, fifty-eight of Johanna’s portraits, all painted from life, were accepted into the permanent collection of The Museum of Ventura County in California, an honor she holds most dear.
Primarily a portrait artist but also an avid landscape and still life painter, Johanna considers artists such as John Singer Sargent, Johannes Vermeer, and Frans Hals to be major influencers of her work. Her mentor, seven time presidential painter Everett Raymond Kinstler, N.A., —who she trained under at The Art Students League of New York and The National Academy of Design New York—says of her work: “Johanna’s paintings are filled with the joy of life, passionate and colourful.” With her unique style, Johanna has been on the teaching faculty at the California Art Institute and The Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art and is frequently asked to give public painting demonstrations of her life painting techniques. She also received a certificate of distinction for her three year term as the California State Ambassador for the Portrait Society of America.
Unsurprisingly, Johanna is masterful at capturing the imaginations of her students and collectors worldwide on social media. With her 365 Days of Drawing project in 2010—which was featured in American Artist Magazine—Johanna’s Facebook and blog followers were captivated by whatever subject happened to pique her imagination every day for a year, which included everything from Cadbury eggs and lingerie to fully rendered portraits. Whether she spends 2 hours on a piece or 2 months, Johanna’s most unique talent lies her ability to render everything—from the quotidian to the exquisite—in a style which has a luxe and timeless finish.
Further evidence of her acclaim is certainly not hard to come by. Her paintings hang internationally in private and public collections including The New York Players Club (where her work hangs alongside her idol John Singer Sargent); The Episcopalian Diocese of Los Angeles; The British Heritage Museum, Canada; The Museum of La Grand Vigne, Dinan, France; and in the private collection of the Forbes Family. More recently, her 2 year long “Face of Ventura” project in California won her the 2013 Mayor’s Art Award for Artist in The Community. Her juried show acceptances include the Oil Painters of America National Shows, OPA Salon Shows, The Portrait Society of Atlanta, Jack Richeson International 75, and The California Art Club Gold Medal Shows..
There is little doubt that the artist will continue looking for new ways to innovate and tell stories for the rest of her career.