There are three strands of interests woven throughout my career: design, video,  communications/marketing. Sometimes I can visualize them all working together towards some grand master plan but usually it looks more like distinct phases and musical themes.

Phase I: Artist, Computer Graphics

In art school (School of Visual Arts, New York City), I was obsessed with technology and sculpture. My studio looked like a mad laboratory filled with motors and gear picked up on Canal Street along with odd junk scavenged off the city streets. I built a few conceptual robots and collaged artworks. When it was time to get a real job in the real world, I started as a messenger at a video post production company. I gravitated towards graphics and hit the zeitgeist in the 80’s when computer graphics screamed onto the scene. I became a Quantel Paintbox artist and then morphed into a computer animator. Those skills took me to Paris, France where I also came in contact with the first High Def production studio. I worked on High Def systems and digital compositing but kept moving towards being in charge or overseeing complicated projects. Throughout this phase, the computer became the main medium for my personal artwork which continues to this day (more on that in a little while).

Phase II: The call of Producing

Tired of the endless round of new technology to master, I thought that producing would free me from the chains of any one system. Ha! As anyone today knows, you are only as good as your last software update. My first job as a bonafide producer was for Broadway Video in New York. Owned by Loren Michaels of Saturday Night Live fame, I felt the ghosts of comics past as I walked the halls at night. I honed my skills on show and network identity packages and eventually left the nest to become a freelance producer. For over 10 years, I worked on exciting projects with wonderful clients: National Geographic Channel, ABC, PBS, Jim Henson Television, Travel Channel, The Food Network, Oxygen, Hallmark, AMC, TNT, TBS.

Phase III: Director of Marketing and Communications

The next phase of my story leads to Kansas. Yes, an unusual interlude in which I stumbled into the delights and intricacies of working in Higher Education. I became head of marketing and communications for a small but complex private university and found out I enjoyed writing, research, making small documentaries and strategy. Social media was in its infancy at that time so I dove in head first and experimented with various community enhancing projects – blogs, nings, facebook, YouTube, etc.

Phase IV: Putting it all together, hopefully

I left Kansas over a year ago to put down new roots. I washed up on the Pacific shore in Los Angeles to be near family. Throughout all the twists and turns of my career, my art changed and grew but stayed relatively private. In the early days, I was fascinated with celestial images and would spend hours creating galaxies and unknown planets. Lately, I start with ink sketches on philosophical themes and bring them into the computer for finishing. The images are by turns humorous, spiritual, whimsical or downright enigmatic. Currently, I am experimenting with a more narrative approach so the images have become multilayered visual maps of my experience. The pictures are ready to make their way out into the world as illustrations for books, greeting cards, editorial, posters, packaging – wherever they need to be.

In the meantime, I produce, write, do a little public relations, a bit of social media, draw and dream. I’m happy to talk about a project so feel free to get in touch!


6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. wendy gardner  |  April 7, 2009 at 7:57 am

    you’ve opened so many doors, and best part, none are shut, It all leads to the next big thing around the corner. with pieces emerging from each door to form the latest tapestry. It all forms a part and greases the route, Sometimes the point isn’t clarity, until later.

    • 2. joannetolkoff  |  July 18, 2009 at 2:14 am

      Thanks – I just saw your comment. I decided to start uploading images again and just visited the site after many months of neglect.

    • 3. joannetolkoff  |  July 18, 2009 at 2:16 am

      Okay, now I actually read your post. Wise words. Sometimes we just have to fumble around in the dark. For a while.

  • 4. Peter Chace  |  May 14, 2010 at 7:15 am

    Hi, noticed your site and wondered if the administrator the same Joanne Tolkoff I knew from Quogue?

    • 5. joannetolkoff  |  May 14, 2010 at 7:58 am

      Yes, say moi! I haven’t seen the word Quogue in a while. Another age, literally. Hope you are well.

  • 6. Shirley Domer  |  December 1, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Time to update your “About,” Joanne. We want the latest news about your journey. Best wishes and keep ’em coming!


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