Although the background story and bio of an artist may not be as important as the art itself, the many art critics, collectors, and fans of JoAnne Fleming’s work can’t seem to get enough information on the artist.
JoAnne was born in West Hollywood, California in 1930, during the Great Depression. Her childhood memories were clearly not drawn from a fairytale book. After losing her mother in 1948 at the age of sixteen and having to drop out of high school after the 10th grade, JoAnne and her two sisters and brother had to face adult life well before their time.
Although the years that followed eventually saw her getting married and giving birth to sons, Vance and Brian Mallory, life still remained a struggle. It was not until her second marriage to Herbert A. Fleming, a lettuce grower, farmer, and shipper that her struggles were matched by even greater blessings. He was a man who challenged her, in every way, to be a better person. Even though her life now seemed rather ordinary to her, having no other real interests outside of her wonderful family – life was still good.
In 1986, JoAnne’s life would again be turned upside down with the death of her son Brian. This was unquestionably the worst experience she had ever faced and it was unsurpassable. Her increased sense of fragility and vulnerability lead her into a state of deep depression. After being immersed in this dark reality and coming into the realization that something was needed, “I had to make a change to take my mind off this tremendous loss”, JoAnne turned to painting.
With absolutely no formal training in art and relying solely on her life experiences and the inspiration and mentoring of a few great artists as her source of creativity, she began to create what would ultimately become a significant and brilliantly executed collection of oil paintings in her notable Expressionist style.
Having been mentored along the way by artist Harry Sternberg, and receiving encouragement from admired artists such as Don Lagerberg, Kwak Wai Lau, Arturo Secundo, Geroge Degroot, and David Amico to name a few, she has always managed to maintain the originality of her work.
JoAnne Fleming’s works of art have been accepted in many juried exhibitions, including several exhibitions at the Palm Desert Museum.