Blog Menu

Studio Sunday: Joan Brown

A photo of Joan Brown with friends in her studio


Our Studio Sunday artist for the week is Joan Brown. Joan Brown was a painter and sculptor based in Northern California. While the artist began her career experimenting with abstraction in the early 1960s, she quickly moved on to a largely figurative practice though she would continue to vary her style over the years.  


Brown is pictured here in her studio with a group of friends. (Brown is in a white shirt on the far right.) It’s always fun to see the artist surrounded by other people in the studio -- whether the other people are friends, or studio assistants, a group of people tends to suggest a collaborative atmosphere. Whether or not Brown ever collaborated artistically with the group pictured above, seeing this photo gives me an interesting sense of how closely interconnected Brown’s personal life and practice were. It’s something like seeing Dan Flavin pictured in the studio with his young son, or Yinka Shonibare with his studio assistants.


Brown’s studio space itself is a very typical art studio. There’s a huge painting on the back wall that looks to be a work-in-progress. The rest of the studio is packed with various equipment – the multiple tables in the space are stacked with jars of paint, brushes, and other ephemera.  


Brown actively produced paintings throughout the 1960s and 70s. In the late 70s and 80s,

she became interested in sculpture, particularly public sculpture, and travelled to India

several times to participate in New Age spiritual practices. In 1990, Brown was tragically killed

in an accident during the installation of an obelisk that she constructed for her friend Sai Baba’s Eternal Heritage Museum in Puttaparthi, India.

[image source]

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

Read more of Dallas' posts

Make your art portfolio easy

and focus your time on making art.


Try free for 30 days. No payment required.