Born in New York to two artist parents, I have always lived on an island except for when I attended Syracuse University and Philadelphia College of Art. Thereafter, I launched a thirty-five year exploration of provocative possibilities focusing on critical social and political issues.
My first images were made on the clean, smooth white surfaces of preface pages of my parents’ hard-bound books. Some have been retrieved and appear in my self-published, non-autobiographical book, A Child’s Garden of Versus
. My love of the printed page began at an early age when I used to sit for hours next to my grandmother on the piano bench, turning her sheet music as she signaled with a nod while playing challenging classical configurations on her Mason & Hamlin parlor grand. I was infatuated with the blackness of the notes on the paper and how they transformed into the magnificent music that resulted. I liken my experience as a book-maker to the opposite cause and effect.
As a mixed media
artist whose concepts are Dada-based, my art is often wrought with “beaucoup entente” taking me through performances, installations, painting, mail art and my premier passion, book-making. Ironically, the catalyst for making books began in 1980 with my first mail art project whereby I addressed, stamped and sent insured unwrapped stretched canvases to famous artists and curators. Recipients were asked to mark the canvas “Return to Sender” and post it back to me. My first book, Letters
, self-published in 1982, serves as documentation of the performance piece.
Although I employ many diverse techniques of expression, book-making is the most satisfying as the process provides me with an incomparable venue for my sense of humor, abundant verbiage and the endless need to produce.
Statement courtesy of Jo-Anne Echevarria-Myers
Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA
Philadelphia College of Art, Philadelphia, PA, USA