jo stanness



Jo Stanness began making her architectural cut-outs in 2015. They came from an idea she had had for an illustrated book. If the book never saw the light, her cut-outs did and evolved.

Jo’s interest in visual and fine arts started early on in her life. While completing her studies, Jo explored and tried out a variety of media - painting, photography, mixed-media collage, print making & video. Submerging herself in theories and psychoanalysis, from which she would derive strict sets of rules and criteria to create her works, she realized she had cornered herself with it and needed to simplify her work.

Drawn to the clean lines and geometry of brutalist and modernist architecture, she always found the background clutter frustrating. To Jo, the solution was simple: use scissors and paint to cut away the clutter and reveal the clean forms.

Jo was born in Sunderland in the North East of England where she now teaches in a primary school. She finds inspiration in the numerous books she reads, in art, be it in galleries, books, or on Instagram, and by visiting new towns and cities with her camera in hand.

“Architecture can slice through and divide up physical space; I am interested in using images of structures or elements of buildings as a catalyst for the division of pictorial space. In this work I follow one simple self-imposed rule: I only follow or extend lines and angles which already exist within the photographic image.  From here I use a process of trial and error to explore possibilities within this framework – or network – of lines.”


1. What is your greatest fear? Getting lost.

2. What is your current state of mind? Tired but optimistic.

3. What is your favourite occupation? Painting

4. What historical figure do you most identify with?  Tove Jansson

5. Which living person do you most admire? Grayson Perry 

6. Who is your favourite fictional hero? Leo Gursky from The History of Love

7. Who are you real-life heroes? Mum and Dad

8. What is your most treasured possession? My notebooks

9. When and where were you happiest? Any time that I have time to kill with Dylan and Jon, probably at the beach.

10. What is your most obvious characteristic? Forgetfulness

11. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I’m disorganized and cannot learn from my own mistakes (chaos-wise)

12. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Bigotry

13. What is your greatest extravagance? Sneaking back to bed after the alarm with coffee and a book.

14. What is your favourite journey? I love motorway journeys, spotting potential photographs with Jon; or journeys home with my son, Dylan.

15. What do you most dislike about your appearance? Big nose.

16. What do you consider the most over-rated virtue? orderliness

17. On what occasion do you lie? When I have to.

18. Which words or phrases do you most over-use? ‘by the way,’ ‘and stuff,’ plus most expletives.

19. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d worry less. 

20. What do you consider your greatest achievement? My son, Dylan

21. Where would you like to live? In a forest or in a brutalist block, depending on my mood.

22. What is the quality you most admire in a man? compassion

23. What is the quality you most admire in a woman? compassion

24. What is it you most dislike? The way that small minded idiots seem to be taking over.

25. What do you value most in your friends? Humour and understanding

26. How would you like to die? Virginia Woolf style (stones in pockets)

27. If you were to die and come back as a person or an animal, what do you think it would be? A moth

28. If you could choose an object to come back as, what would you choose? A coffee bean

29. What is your motto, the words you live by or that mean a lot to you? Just try to be good to people…

30. Who has been the greatest influence on you? My boyfriend, Jon