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In the spirit of full disclosure, which is important to me a journalist, I’ve been friends with Jo Deck since we were 4. Three years later, I knew she had an abundance of natural artistic talent because her elaborate tree drawings were much better than my stick figures. She allowed me to visually plagiarize one of her sketches and hand it in as my own. Our second grade teacher was no fool and kindly suggested that I should submit my own work.

Jo’s evolution as an artist is organic, bold and very much what’s going on in her life at the moment. I’m a visual journalist and I believe the best images encourage gazing. They’re compositionally complicated. The subjects are interrelated and light moves you through the image. There’s so much going on and not all of it is spelled out. There’s a hint of mystery, so you want to keep looking.

Jo’s work affects me that way. She’s bold in her choices of canvas and color. There’s massive terrain, literally and figuratively. I’m happy just staring for a while. And if I’m lucky enough to find myself in a room filled with her work, I’m set for the afternoon.

She says she locks herself in her studio and just lets her thoughts lead the way. She’s compelled to create and I feel blessed to be a beneficiary.

Sally Stapleton
Two-time Pulitzer Prize Winner
Managing Editor, The Day, New London, CT
Former Associated Press deputy, Executive Photo Editor, New York,

When I look at Jo, I see light. Jo has a glow about her all the time. You can see the radiance in her smile and in her eyes, therefore it’s no wonder when she looks at the canvas even in the darkness, there is always some form of luminosity. All of her work exhibits this wonder of light, sometimes subtle and other times very intense. One of her works, titled “The Promise,” is such a painting where darkness meets light. When observing this piece of art, one senses the Holiness of heaven. Jo is a faithful woman of God. Her love for God is everywhere in her paintings. Her inner beauty is seen by all especially when she is sitting and working at her canvas.

Cindy Bazzell Hine
San Diego, CA educator
Blogger, Cali Living by CBHine

Artists develop over time and serious artists persist and sometimes reach new places, new heights in their work. I have followed Jo’s career and artistic development through much of her life and her leap from traditional forms into abstract has been a stunning revelation — her most recent works have great emotional depth, as well of a deep understanding of light. You see her life’s struggles, and her geographies — rural cotton fields, Gulf Coast views and southern urban landscapes — in her soaring beautiful works.

Patty Henson Sullivan
Professor of Educational Technology, University of Arkansas – Fayetteville, AR
National University of Rwanda English Literature Teacher & Peace Corps Volunteer
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