A UTTOXETER artist has discovered success in China after being chosen to take part in a trade mission based around creative businesses. Joan Kennedy, who has lived in the town for more than 20 years, is an award-winning artist, author and illustrator. Creating ‘Art for Happy Homes’ Joan’s work is available in originals and prints as well as reproduced on a variety of home and giftwares including mugs, coasters, worktop savers and aprons.
And while she sells items through her website and at artisan fairs, her work is also being sold in Beijing and beyond through Funner Art.
In 2018, Joan was one of 10 Midlands businesses selected to exhibit at the Hangzhou Creative Expo in China.
She was chosen for two more trade missions last year as well and went on to win best exhibit award at Ningbo Expo Creative Cultural Event in April.
Joan said: “This was an incredible award to win. The actual event was huge and had hundreds of exhibitors. It would take at least one or two full days to see all the exhibits.
“I was completely shocked to be selected again by Nottinghamshire County Council. The criteria had become a lot stricter for September.
“With limited funding, they were only allowing six businesses to come. Considering two of these businesses already sell in Harrods, I really did not think I had a chance.”
Joan’s work has become highly popular and a number of pieces sold to a gallery are currently selling in Beijing and other various shops throughout China through Funner Art.
She added: “The Chinese people are truly lovely, and I felt welcomed into their hearts.
“I wish I could speak Chinese however; I feel when it comes to my art at least language is not a barrier.
“Regardless of culture, both art and music have a language of their own.”
Joan is originally from Ireland and has also written and illustrated “The Scruffy Dog Story” which features an illustration of a stray dog in Uttoxeter.
To find out more, visit www.joankennedyartist.co.uk
Joan said: “I love to chat to people about my work and feel so grateful when they purchase something so simple as one of my greeting cards or glass worktop savers.
“I will be forever grateful to both Jason Yu of Nottinghamshire County Council and the Chinese government for their support.
“I want to make art accessible to everyone and create a happier, more colourful world, one painting at a time.”
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