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Jo Lawrence, Artist in Residence, 2008

Jo Lawrence, Artist in Residence, 2008

Jo Lawrence, a new media artist, is currently an animation director at Picasso Pictures. Originally interested in line-drawn illustration, her work has developed to encompass collage, puppets and stop-frame animation. Jo was Artist in Residence at the V&A in summer 2008.

See Jo Lawrence's Residency blog (archived)


Jo Lawrence graduated from Kingston University with a BA in Graphic Design and worked as a freelance illustrator for advertising, publishing, packaging, and editorial clients. Her work evolved to incorporate collage before developing into three dimensions almost by stealth. The playful exploration of constructing puppets from found objects took on a life of its own and an experimental collection of puppets sold unexpectedly well in San Francisco, prompting a total change of career direction. Several more puppet collections and many exhibitions followed: Contemporary Applied Arts, New York International Gift Fair, Craft2eu, Galerie Handwerk, San Francisco International Gift Fair, and Flow Gallery.

The figures already suggested a capacity for movement so studying animation seemed inevitable. Three stop-frame animation films produced during her MA Animation and Illustration course at Kingston – ‘Red Thread’, ‘0800’, and ‘Zeuxis’ – were screened at many festivals including Annecy, London Animation Festival, Onedotzero (ICA), Edinburgh, New York International Children's Film Festival.

In 2006, Jo was Animator in Residence at the National Media Museum, Bradford, and subsequently commissioned by Channel 4. In 2007 'Glow' was screened on Channel 4, and in 2008 it was nominated for the shortlist for The British Animation Awards, and later screened at festivals at Annecy, Stuttgart, Zagreb,Melbourne International Film Festival, and Australian International Film Festival.


A film by Jo Lawrence

During her V&A residency, Jo used the Museum collections as inspiration for 'Glover', an animated film that integrates a masked actor ('human puppet') with digitally animated glove puppets. Glover's story was inspired by the fusion of two sources of inspiration from the V&A's vast collection: a reproduction of the 14th-century Ebstorf Map and a pair of ornate 17th-century leather and satin gloves.

The Ebstorf map is a representation of the medieval view of the world in 1300. It appears to introduce a fourth continent on the periphery, Terra Incognita, the unknown world, inhabited by imaginary creatures, such as gigantipedes, monopods and nose-less men. Similarly the 'glovecreatures' in Glover's interior world are a departure from the familiar, known and safe world of his workshop. Glover's journey takes him to the furthest reaches of his imagination, Terra Chirotheca (literally, 'Gloveland'). It is a place of both horror and delight, where he meets a series of strange hybrids that are part beast or human and part glove.

'Glover' was short-listed for the Short Film category of the British Animation Awards 2010, and selected for the Public Choice Award.

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