Local creative - Joanna Gambotto

Our local creative for October is visual artist Joanna Gambotto.

Joanna is an emerging visual artist whose creative practice encompasses drawing, painting and printmaking.  

A Creative Community Grant recipient, Joanna’s recent series of large-scale charcoal drawings and prints invite the viewer into familiar interior spaces that delight, in her solo exhibition, ‘Interior Worlds - Hill End’ at Manly Art Gallery & Museum from Oct 23 – Nov 29.

Joanna’s upcoming solo exhibition is scheduled to open in April 2021 at Michael Reid Northern Beaches, a new gallery in Newport.

Find Joanna online or on Instagram.

Image: © Jolanta Morgan Portrait Studio, courtesy the artist

Tell us about your creative practice?

My creative practice revolves mainly around painting.  I completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the National Art School in 2013 and have been practicing art full time since then. In that time, I’ve held numerous solo exhibitions and completed several art residencies. My works of everyday familiarities and places I’ve visited aim to encapsulate the fine line between reality and fantasy.  

How do you engage with the local creative community?

I moved to Avalon fairly recently and have been involved with The Warringah Printmakers Studio, participating in workshops.  I also participated in a group show ‘Home Affair’s hosted by Manly Art Gallery & Museum late last year with my painting, Refuge Cove.  MAG&M is also hosting my solo exhibition ‘Interior Worlds - Hill End’ a series of works completed during my residency in Hill End in 2019.

What has been the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your arts practice?

I was working on a printmaking project following my art residency in Hill End last year (a residency facilitated by Bathurst Regional Art Gallery). The project comprised a series

of etchings based on the interiors of Hill End cottages. I was working on the project for 

a few months prior to COVID-19 and unfortunately had to cease all works due to lock down 

laws earlier this year and was unable to access the facilities at Warringah Printmakers Studio


How has the grant funding helped you adapt to the changing environment?

The funds have enabled me to become a self-sufficient printmaker and to produce work more 

efficiently without the need to rely on external facilities. Being independent in my printmaking 

practice has resulted in greater prolificacy and has allowed me to continue working and complete projects for exhibition, which has enabled me to connect with the Northern Beaches art community. 

Were you happy with the outcome of your project and how did you share it with the Northern Beaches community?

I was very happy with the outcome and received a lot of positive feedback. Manly Art Gallery and Museum very kindly agreed to host “Interior Worlds – Hill End” which included large-scale charcoal drawings as well as a series of etchings based on the interiors of Hill End’s cottages. The response from the community was very encouraging, we even had a full house at the talk I did one Sunday during the exhibition, despite the COVID restrictions and ghastly weather on the day!

Where to now? – what projects have you got coming up and where do you see yourself in 5 years-time as a creative practitioner?

I really can’t tell. I’ll definitely still be painting, but who knows what else. The wonderful thing about the creative process is that you never know where it is going to take you. Over the last few months I’ve been visiting other artists’ studios, making works based on their creative spaces – it’s fascinating what you can find in an artist’s studio. There’s no better subject matter for me than a creative space filled with all sorts of weird and wonderful things. I’ll be having some of the works from these series on show at Michael Reid Northern Beaches in April.

You completed a residency in Hill End in regional NSW last year, where would like to travel or undertake a residency when the borders come down and travel is, well, less complicated?

I think that a trip to Europe is long overdue. There are many wonderful residencies you can do in Europe, applying for one of them has been on my radar for some time now. Studios of many great European painters are open to the public, I’d love to be able to visit them and see what work comes out of it. I think that art residencies are a great way to expand your artistic horizons – stepping out of your comfort zone can trigger a new approach to your creative practice that might have gone a bit stale and repetitive over the years.

What is one thing that you couldn’t live without?



Images courtesy Joanna Gambotto