In Love with the Colours of Life!

She paints with her soul and transcends the limitations of the paintbrush. She believes in literally having a free hand with her palette of colours, dabbling in them using her fingers, bubble wraps and hands, experimenting with different media, splashing the beauty of colours all around,and creating a reflection of the unique way she sees the world.  Her artistic journey is a reflection of the journey of her soul within, as life takes her to different lands, cultures and people. Meet Billie Jo, an English artist, fairly new to the Island but immensely in love with this land and its vibrant culture.

Tell us briefly about yourself: where you were born and raised, your educational background, etc.

My name is Billie Jo English. Known as Billie. I was born in the United Kingdom, raised in Liverpool.

I went to Halewood community comprehensive school. I got married at 21 and now a mother of 2 children – Jonothan age 7 & Charlotte age 5.

We moved away with my husband’s work to Singapore and travelled Asia a little. That work has now brought us here providing me with new inspiration and trips around the GCC.

img_5748Were you initiated into arts and painting during your childhood?

Yes, my mum introduced me into art. She always said as soon as I could hold a pencil I was drawing.

She would show me simple techniques and I would follow.In school my favorite subject was art.

At a young age I was recognized for my artistic skills often receiving praise and certificates for work.

My paintings would hang around the school and head office with the A’level work although I was several years younger.

Tell us briefly about the kind of arts that you pursue. Who has been your inspiration?

My first loves of art were in school with Vincent Van Gogh & Claude Monet. Their impressionist styles really inspired me and had a huge influence on my style both then
and now.

In my early 20’s after attending Gustav Klimt s exhibition at the Tate Modern in Liverpool, my love for painting was reignited. I loved his passion and the way it shown through his work and I wanted to be able to do that.

Right now, I’m following a number of street artist and mixed media artist such as Hush (Lukas Lestinsky).  His diverse range of cultures and mediums has given me inspiration.

img_5740Tell us about the significance of art in your life.

Growing up wasn’t always easy, and art became my therapy, my place to escape. Art was the first thing that I ever truly had that was my own. It was and still is something I just love to do, be it draw, paint or create something. I am always covered in paint. I am sure I drive my husband insane with ‘oh I can do this or that’ new projects!(laughs)

What have been the major challenges of your life so far?

My biggest struggle has been my confidence. I was my own worst enemy for criticizing myself so much. It is very easy to judge and compare your work to others. There was a time that I wouldn’t even let anyone even see my work. My aunty Cathy once said to me ‘Billie you see beautiful things that others are not capable of seeing, thank you for sharing your gift!’ it was then that I learnt to be a little easier on myself, and be able to actually love my works!

Do you feel that a formal training is essential to pursue arts?

I am not good with words. I communicate through my art so I may be a little biased with this answer, but no, I do not think formal training is essential. What I do feel is that passion is a must. To me art hasn’t been a choice it’s always been there in my soul. You can learn about art and art techniques, I’m doing this all of the time. I’m constantly experimenting and trying new things but there is nothing formal about it.

Tell us about the art classes that you offer.

I work at Artology in Saar. I love my job. I run classes for children aged 5-8 three days a week. We cover artist old and new. We use many mediums from collage to spray paint, water colour and acrylic. We are there to guide the children so that each child will have an understanding of different art techniques and an original piece of art to take home.

I do occasional one to one work, and will soon be opening up adult workshops.

img_5746What kind of help and support do you seek to help reach your goal?

My goal is to be happy. I do love what I do and to have art as a career option is a dream come true! One day I would love to walk into somewhere and see a piece of my art hanging pride of place!

From not showing my art to anyone to now wanting to share it with the world I ask that you do please share, let people know I’m here.

Have you participated/held exhibitions in Bahrain or in any other place? Give us a list of the last few.

I will be doing live painting at the Bahrain Financial Harbor in the next few weeks and there is talk of me having an exhibition here sometime soon too.

What is your message to the aspiring artists of Bahrain?

Believe in yourself and enjoy what you do. Don’t take yourself too seriously, don’t take all criticism to heart. One person will love what another hates. We are not all the same and ultimately this is what makes us so special.