Artist's Statement  -  Biography  -  Resume  -  Joanna's Video courtesy of Eclectic Art Gallery

Artist's Statement

Simple things bring unlimited richness to our lives. Because they are so commonplace, however, we ourselves often limit our vision of them and lose the pleasure and profundity they offer us. Often it is necessary to enshrine everyday things in the form of art before people will give them the attention they deserve. Putting them in the traditional place of venerated objects can make people notice and respect them in ways that they never would in daily life. And – if we’re lucky – these viewers will begin to appreciate the world around them in the same way they appreciate art. Their eyes will become their artists, and the world will be their museum.

One of the simple things we spend little time appreciating is light, and especially the way it acts on ordinary things in our surroundings. My work focuses on the interplay of light with everyday materials whose aestetics we often overlook. Light changes the world when it shows us reality through glass. In glass vessels, light and shadow, brightness and darkness, bring us endless variation as time passes and surroundings change. This ephemeral beauty is still richer when glass overlaps and two sets of form and color act not only side by side, but through and in one another.

Fabric is another source of richness we ignore. We wear it, we clean things with it, we cover cars with it, drop food on it, sleep on it, but we seldom give it the notice it deserves. Fabric is intimate with light, but it does not let light force its will on it. Light can play on it, but usually not through it. Fabric generally defines light’s game by its own surface. Silks send light off in an exciting shimmer, while rougher weaves give a software image that can be subdued yet more profound.

If there is a simple message to my work, it is, “Look!” Sure, look at the art, but let the art lead you to look at life. Go back to my inspiration and make it your inspiration. Really knowing simple things can change everything.

back to top


Initiation into art, and the life of a career artist, came to Joanna Tlok through a series of chance events. Her first experience in art-making came when she was seven years old. At the time, it was popular in her native Poland for children to keep diaries, to which their friends would make contributions. When asked to add to such a diary that one of her friends was keeping, Joanna’s mother helped her compose a floral design to go with the note she composed. This activity so engaged Joanna that it launched a life of creative work.

It took several more years, however, for the ambition of being a professional artist to take hold. At that pivotal point of adolescence when Poles finish primary school and have to choose a specialized secondary school which might determine their lifelong career path, Tlok still did not even know art was a possibility for her. Coming from a smaller town, she had no exposure to professional artists and knew nothing of art education at the secondary and college level. This is when pure coincidence once again entered the scene: During a brief hospitalization her mother had a roommate who was related to a student attending art school, and this chance meeting gave Joanna the direction she needed to get formal training in visual arts.

After years of work as a professional artist and a teacher in Poland, Tlok immigrated to the United States with her husband, Marek, and their children, where she has begun her career with a new audience.

While Tlok’s paintings are figurative, color and light are, in fact, her true subject matter. Her two main vehicles for helping us appreciate these elements are her depictions of glass and fabric. She is always impressed with the play of light and shadow on the surface and interior of glass vessels and with the way shape and color are affected when glass overlaps.

In her examinations of fabric, Tlok finds gratification in bringing us uncommon studies of the commonplace. Fabric is so ubiquitous and plays such a huge role in everyday life – we wear it, sit on it, sleep under it, wash things with it, and use it as decoration – that people seldom take the time to appreciate its visual qualities and its interplay with light. This is what Tlok shows to us by making simple fabric the subject of thoughtful painting, and she hopes that her work will encourage people to notice the beauty of simple things in their everyday surroundings.

back to top



January 1994 ~ Present - Self Employed, Westland, Michigan
ARTIST: Painting, various art projects

September 1982 ~ September 1986 - Elementary School, Swidnica, Poland

January 1984 ~ December 1985 - Folk Cultural Center, Opoczka, Poland

September 1980 ~ September 1982 - WARTEX CORPORATION, Swidnica, Poland


September 1984 ~ September 1986 - Pedagogical College, Walbrzych, Poland
Associate, 1986

September 1975 ~ September 1981 - National Academy of Fine Arts, Wroclaw, Poland
Dipolma, 1981

Professional Achievements

2014 July - November - WSG Gallery, Ann Arbor, Michigan - Display of current art works as a Guest Artist
2013 - The Harris Building, Grand Rapids - Display/Charity Auction of art work
2013 - ARTPRIZE participant, Grand Rapids, Michigan
2012 - present - Frame Art gallery, Birmingham, Michigan - Display of current art works
2012 - The Finalists Exhibition at The Alfred Berkowitz Gallery, The University of Michigan - Dearborn
2011 - One Person Exhibition, at University Liggett School, Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan
2010 - Merit Award for "Four Rose Series," The Twenty-Fifth Annual Kubinski Art Competition, Orchard Lake Galeria, Michigan
2010 - An Invitational Fine Arts Exhibition, Padzieski Art Gallery, Dearborn, Michigan
2010 - Merit Award for "Tulip", The Art Museum Project at The University of Michigan - Dearborn, All-Michigan, All-media, Open Competition
2010 - The Finalists Exhibition at The Alfred Berkowitz Gallery, The University of Michigan - Dearborn
2008 - The Judge at Annual Kubinski Art Competition, Orchard Lake Galeria, Michigan
2005 - One-person exhibition at the Eclectic Art & Object Gallery, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania
2005 - A piece "WINTER" has been selected as a finalist of the 22nd Annual Artist's Magazine Art Competition.
2004 ~ present - Eclectic Art & Objects Gallery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Display of current art works - (412) 734-2099
2004 - A piece "FALL" has been selected as a finalist of the 21th Annual Artist's Magazine's Art Competition.
2004 - The Artist of the Month on the website,
2003 - A piece "A TREE" has been selected as a finalist of the 20th Annual Artist's Magazine's Art Competition.
2003 - The finalists Exhibition at the International Show "Global ARTlook", MatrixArts Space, Sacramento, California.
2003 - The Scarab Club Silver Medal Annual Exhibition, Detroit, Michigan
2002 -
First Place, The Seventeenth Annual Kubinski Art Competition, Orchard Lake Galeria, Michigan
2002 ~ 2004 - TRA Art Group, Troy, Michigan - Display of current art works
2002 ~ 2004 -
R J Laney Design, Royal Oak, Michigan Display of current art works
2002 - Merit Award, The Scarab Club Silver Medal Annual Exhibition, Detroit, Michigan
2001 - Best of Show, The Sixteenth Annual Kubinski Art Competition, Orchard Lake Galeria, Michigan
2001 - One-person exhibition at the Galeria Orchard Lake Schools, Orchard Lake, Michigan
2000 - One-person exhibition at the Gallery Birmingham, Birmingham, Michigan
1999 ~ 2002 - Gallery Birmingham, Birmingham, Michigan Exhibition of current art works
1989 ~ 1991 - Vitro Art Gallery, Swidnica, Poland Exhibition of current art works
1989 ~ 1991 - Create art pieces to specific orders
1981 - Museum of Contemporary Art, Wroclaw, Poland Collective Exhibition
1981 - Nomination of art piece for Diploma

back to top

Copyright © 2000-2014 Joanna Tlok. All Rights Reserved.