Biography

Joy Osman was born in East London. Hiding among dusty medicine bottles in the dark cellar of her father’s chemist shop took up quite a large part of her early life and in previous artworks, the influences of this dark childhood are visible, with strange imagery inspired by alchemy and mysticism. Other influences include Rembrandt, Goya, Eileen Cooper and Howard Hodgkin.


Art at home was almost non-existent and from a young age, Joy began to draw on the walls of her bedroom in secret. She was lucky however, to live a stone’s throw away from the Geffrye Museum, which hosted art activities for children. The help and encouragement she received there as a child was a formative influence on her later work.

As an adult, the prospect of getting an art education looked bleak. Instead, Joy left school early to work for Boots the Chemists and later returned to Hackney to work in children’s libraries. It was there that she became involved with community art projects, swapping earlier childhood wall painting for mural painting and designing stage sets.

At the age of 29, Joy was able to do an Art foundation course at Watford College and later graduated from Chelsea School of Art. In 1999, she became a lecturer in Life Drawing and Painting at West Herts College for several years, while continuing to exhibit and work to commission. Joy's work in art and design has been very varied and has included book jacket illustration for Women’s Press and promotional work for the BeeGees hit, ‘Tragedy’. In addition to Joy's current exhibition at Watford School of Music, she has work for sale at Saatchi Art. Joy has written and illustrated a book called, ‘I Can’t Wait To Be On TV!’, published by Matador and available from Waterstone’s and Amazon.