Jodi Edwards was born into a very artistic family in 1959 in Syracuse New York. Throughout her childhood she was given carte blanche for any art supplies she wanted. Creativity was encouraged and valued in her family.
Jodi’s education and background in art is richly diverse. She graduated from the New School for Social Research in New York City in 1984 with a degree in Liberal Arts. (At that time it was attached to Parsons School of Design.) She started modeling for art classes at Parsons to earn money. She worked for many different art schools, (Parsons School of Design, School of Visual Arts, the Art Students League of New York, to name a few) groups, and classes all over New York City. When she was 25, she moved to Southampton, New York, becoming a professional art model. For the next 15 years, she was often requested, enabling her to work for well known and established artists in the Hamptons, some of whom were Norman Bluhm, David Salle, and Larry Rivers. She learned from listening to, and watching renowned artists and teachers which inspired her to start painting in 1985. Within months she was in several art shows, and sold work immediately. She had her first art opening in NYC at Thunderdome Studios in Manhattan, in 1986. She was 26.
While she was waiting tables at a coffeeshop in Southampton, she met Henry Geldzahler the curator of 20th century art for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He came in every day for breakfast. She had her paintings in the basement, hoping he would come down and take a look and one day, sure enough he did. He told her, “These are good.”
Simultaneously, she was developing as a singer songwriter (something she was equally passionate about). In 1990, she serendipitously met Ella Fitzgerald and became her dresser one night at Lincoln Center in New York City. This event was life changing and when Ella said to her “ one day I’ll hear you sing” it was a powerful affirmation and set her off on a singing career for the next 7 years. She had a steady gig in Sag Harbor, New York for a few years, and started a band. In 1995, having lost her brother to AIDS she moved to New Orleans to pursue a career in music.
In 1997, realizing that the lifestyle of being a muscian was one she no longer wanted to pursue, she became an ESL teacher which provided her with the stability in her life she was seeking. She moved to the northshore of Massachusetts in 1998, and has been teaching ESL successfully for 17 years, all the while pursuing various forms of artistic expression.
One of these artistic expressions took the form of rebuilding a house. In 2002, she bought a fire damaged cottage in Hamilton, Massachusetts. She spent the next 5 years gutting the house down to the studs and rebuilding it. She did 75% of the work herself including framing, wiring, plumbing, roofing, and landscaping. It was her work of art, completely consuming her for nearly a decade. Several articles were written about her in newspapers including the Boston Globe.
In 2011 she sold her cottage. She and her husband moved to Southern Maine, where she had the 800sq ft art studio she always dreamed of. In 2012 she began to paint again and pursue the artistic expression she most passionately loves.
In Dec of 2015, she left her teaching career to paint full time. That same month she and her husband purchased a farmhouse that has been in his family for 6 generations in downeast Maine. Ironically it also had a fire in it, and is a complete gut rebuild. She is the General Contractor, rebuilding a dreamhouse with a new studio, and finding time to paint when she can. She is looking forward to the completion and having more time to paint.
Jodi is represented by the Portland Art Gallery.