OBA Member Interview
Artist Jo South
Meet Jo SOuth, artist and Neal’s Yard Consultant
Hello! I’m Jo South. After studying engineering, working in the NHS, plus having my own homeopathic practice, I then had children and moved with my partner’s work to Germany! We lived there for five years before returning to the UK in 2014 and settling in Overton. I now have two businesses.
I am an artist, and paint landscapes and architecture – mainly pubs, houses or anything I am interested in! I have limited edition prints for sale of Overton, Whitchurch, Winchester, Norfolk and Germany. Commissions for original art are a large part of my business and I have been asked to paint, homes, castles, rivers, shops (including the lovely Wilson and Son’s greengrocers!) and cafes – you name it- for people to give as presents or keepsakes. I often include ‘personal touches’, such as pets and people within the picture.
My prints and paintings are sent all around the world and I am so proud to know that they are hanging on walls in so many countries and bringing joy to those that own them.
I work mainly in pen, ink and watercolour. All prints are professionally printed by a fine art printer, numbered, titled and signed by myself.
I also work with Neal’s Yard Remedies (NYR) as an independent consultant. NYR are an independent family-run British company selling ethical, organic and fair-trade health and beauty products for all the family – from herbal products and supplements to toiletries and skin care. They are pioneers in ethical and environmental trading. They have won many awards from Fairtrade recognition to best beauty products, and consistently score 100% for ethics in the independent Good Shopping Guide year after year.
I work in their direct selling channel, so interact with customers via events, pop-up shops, workshops, one-to-ones and business baskets, but mainly home shopping. This is where a host invites friends for an evening social or a morning coffee and cake, and has much pampering and sampling of the products in return for free shopping!
I joined NYR in 2016 and have a small team who I am also supporting.
When did you become a member of the OBA?
About 1 month ago! I was invited to have a pop-up shop at Pop Tots with Alison Davis and after a chat with her I decided to find out more.
Why did you become a member?
I want to connect with other businesses in the village. Being self-employed, I feel it is important to build a network of support and garner information from those around you.
What do you think are the benefits of being a member of the OBA?
It is a great way of sharing what you do with others and finding out what others in the village are offering. I like to ‘shop local’ and want to know who else is out there!
As a group, we will have more influence over decisions made on behalf of businesses in the village, and can steer those decisions in a direction that is beneficial to those directly affected.
What do you hope to achieve through OBA membership?
There are so many ‘hidden talents’ in the village as many of us work from home during school hours. Not having a ‘shop front’ can be detrimental. I would like to think that the networking possibilities and the OBA Open Overton website, etc., can help act as a ‘shop window’ for those of us that are not so publicly visible on the high street.
Many of us begin our businesses because we love what we do – anything that can make marketing and publicity easier is a bonus!
What do you love most about working in Overton?
It is such a vibrant community and people are very willing to help, trade with and promote each other. Overton Gallery were very happy to stock my prints from day one and have always been very supportive, and my Neal’s Yard business was quick to get off the ground as so many people were happy to be a host for me.
And, of course, it is such a beautiful place to live and work too – I can have a break and watch my chickens in the garden, or look across to the church – all this is great for artistic inspiration! There are so many things out there waiting to be painted…..
What should people know about your products?
My artwork is totally unique and includes the local scenes that we love in the village. I have prints of poppies in North Field, Bridge Street with ducks being fed, kids playing at Flashetts, plus all four of our wonderful pubs! My dog is featured in most prints somewhere! I love to capture real life and those places that are special to us and evoke wonderful memories.
I feel strongly about the environment and protecting our bees, animals and our own health, so working with NYR and educating people about the detrimental effects of synthetic and harmful ingredients is very rewarding.