Joanne Panayi Profile

joanne panayi portrait

I was born in 1970 in the market town of Newcastle under Lyme, close to Stoke on Trent. Pencil and paper, and felt tip pens were my first love, I spent much of my childhood scribbling away on cat drawings, or designing Cinderella’s next stunning dress. I was inspired greatly by the work of L.S Lowry and Beryl Cook, and my local art shop in Newcastle was indeed a magical place to visit. Music was my other passion, and the 70’s music of Gilbert & Sullivan as well as Abba and many others were my favourites at this time, and I would sing into anything that resembled a microphone, praying that one day I would have a bottom as glorious as Agnetha’s!

Life unfortunately took a tragic twist upon the death of my mother, and after finishing school and trying out many different jobs from McDonalds to pub work, I took up sign writing, and escaped with my brushes in 1994 to live in sunny Cyprus. Working as a freelance artist, my job took on many different aspects from traditional signs, to large scale murals, commercial art and portraits, and I enjoyed the family orientated social gatherings and disco night life, where I would people-watch at leisure.

Eventually I moved back to Britain in 2002 to take my art work more seriously, bringing with me my son Harry. After two years at stoke on Trent College, I went to Staffordshire University where I did a degree in 3D design craft. This firmly moved my work into the 3D arena, and my multi-media sculptural works started to develop. I obtained a business grant through the university’s EFS scheme at the end of 2008, which funded me to set up working for myself, and helped fill some of the gaps in by business knowledge, of which there were many!

As well as mixed media, fine metals and silver-smithing was another area which was to bring me success, and to date I have two awards from Goldsmiths for my design skills and traditional techniques I use in making my silverware.

After the excitement of my first magazine and newspaper articles, my “New Shoes” sculpture range won an award from GWIIN, the Global Women’s Innovators and Inventors Network, and I started the exciting journey to take my beautiful ladies and their gorgeous shoes from my work bench to gallery.




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