Artist in Residence  Joanne Shaw


Artwork the children have created with Joanne Shaw


As you may be aware, we are lucky enough to have local artist, Miss Joanne Shaw, working in our school. Although she may be a familiar face around school, and indeed Castleford, we wanted to let you know a little bit more about this very talented artist.

Joanne was born in Castleford in 1974 to parents John and Kath Shaw. Her birth was somewhat a surprise as her parents didn’t know they were expecting twins. When sister Vikki was born, the Shaw’s thought their family was complete only to find that two minutes later, Joanne was born and they were the proud parents of three children!

A very inquisitive child, she was always ‘arty’ and found a real love for drawing and painting at a very young age. This was encouraged by her family, who all have a real artistic flair.

Joanne studied at Smawthorne First School and then Henry Moore Junior School (now collectively known as Smawthorne Henry Moore Primary School). It was whilst at school that she developed a love for all things creative; experimenting with collage, pastels and a whole host of other media.

It was one of her favourite teachers, Mr. Noble, who inspired her the most. He even bought her an easel to encourage her to paint!

Although working hard at all her studies, Joanne developed her artistic talents at Castleford High School. Often frustrated by the restraints of endless ‘still life’ studies, she began developing her own style, preferring to draw from her own compositions and photographs.

After studying graphic design at Wakefield College, Joanne realised that she wanted to become a professional artist. In order to fund her materials and pay her bills, she worked at various jobs through the day (in a biscuit factory, framing shop and a gallery) and painted at night. Soon she gained a reputation as a competent artist and began getting commissions to paint portraits, mainly of children and family pets. These commissions allowed her to paint full time and develop her style and talent.

After only a few years, Joanne’s reputation grew and her artwork could be seen in galleries across the country. Her hard work was really beginning to take off.

Joanne had cracked America!

Her paintings can be seen in the Bell Air hotel in Los Angeles and also in the Hard Rock Café chain in America.

One of the highlights of her career was to be invited to paint a portrait of HRH Prince Charles for his fiftieth birthday. He was extremely pleased with the painting when she unveiled it for him.

Joanne also loves painting rock stars and has had commissions from the family of Michael Hutchence and has painted Anastacia. Both these paintings have been used in huge charity campaigns. She now has work displayed in galleries, and in private collections, all over the world.

Still living and working in Castleford, Joanne is on the brink of some new and exciting challenges, both here and abroad.

Despite her reputation and busy work schedule, she still enjoys working with the children of our school; inspiring them, developing their talents and giving them the confidence to become who they want to be.

Her patient, positive nature has a wonderful effect on all of our pupils and her fantastic sense of humour makes her a joy to have around.