Joanna Drakos was born in Athens, Greece. Her family emigrated to the United States when she was 2 years old and settled in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was raised in a Greek-speaking household with strong cultural ties to her native country. In second grade, her public-school class was taken on a field trip to the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, NC. This experience had a profound effect of her. Being surrounded by art in a grand setting for the firsttime, elevated her to a place she wanted to inhabit.
Joanna earned a Bachelor of Creative Arts Degree from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte in 1991. Among her influences were artists of the early twentieth century Avant Garde and of the Bauhaus School: namely Wassily Kandinsky, Laslo Maholy-Nagy and Oskar Schlemmer. A photography class taught by artist and educator Linda Kroff in her final year of college, redirected her path from painting to fine art photography. Upon graduation, she worked in the photography industry; professionally and in her personal work: amassing a large photographic archive. She also volunteered as a Docent at her beloved Mint Museum of Art. Leading children on museum tours
with the hope of inspiring them with the wonder she once experienced.
In 1998, she attended the Maine Photographic Workshops in Camden, Maine. Enrolling in “National Geographic Assignment,” taught by photographer, James P. Blair. It was a transformative experience that inspired her to return to school and hone her computer skills. She enrolled in Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC to pursue graphic design. She graduated Phi Theta Kappa in 2000, won multiple design awards, and earned an Associate Degree in Advertising and Graphic Design. This launched her decade long career as a graphic designer, working in advertising and magazine publishing.
Joanna and her husband, Peter, moved from Charlotte to Reno, Nevada in 2003. She worked in the Custom Publishing Department of the Reno Gazette Journal and helped design many local publications including Reno Magazine, Carson Magazine and The Business Report of Northern Nevada, of which, she was promoted to Art Director. She and her husband eventually welcomed two daughters and Joanna devoted her time to their early development.
The time spent in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic refocused her path back toward her painting practice. She recognized that abstract painting was the highest form of her creative expression and ultimate passion. Her canvases are expressively painted with swift brushstrokes and marks. She prefers to paint her layered compositions intuitively and has a keen sense of color theory, which she employs spontaneously. The paintings themselves are a record of her emotions and anxieties made especially raw in the uncertain time of COVID-19. Painting, for her, is a cathartic and meditative escape from harsh realities. Her objective is to immerse herself into the act of painting as well as in the contemplation of the finished work. They are paintings for respite, focus and deep contemplation; inviting the eye and the mind to enter a state of escape.
Over the past two years, Joanna has produced a body of abstract paintings which have been exhibited in numerous galleries in the Reno and Carson City area. She has joined multiple artist groups such as the Latimer Art Club, The Nevada Artists Association, The Reno Fine Arts Collective and The Sierra Arts Foundation; seizing every opportunity to share her passion for art with the world.