Jo Fraser was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and grew up within a large family belonging to medical and scientific professions. Early in her childhood, she developed a very strong and meaningful fascination for the visual arts.
Jo attended George Watson’s College, where she obsessively strived for artistic excellence and developed a substantiated knowledge for anatomy and traditional techniques in portraying the human figure. In 2004, She left School to pursue further training at Scotland’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design.
In 2008, She graduated with a first class honours Degree and many awards in painting and drawing. Of her degree show, critics noted her blend of strong draughtsmanship, loose paintwork and atmospheric tension that resulted in an academic but gritty take on the traditional ethos of portraiture and suggested her as one of the emerging young artists to watch.
Following the success of her degree show, Jo became resident artist for a castle in Scotland and produced portraits of the family’s children. She continued to work extensively and exclusively on large portraits for private collections and stately homes in Scotland.
In 2011, Jo exhibited in The BP Portrait Award exhibition at The National Portrait Gallery in London and was awarded The BP Portrait Travel Award 2011. Through the award, The National Portrait Gallery funded a two-month project Jo had outlined to observe a community of indigenous Quechua weavers in the mountains of Peru. On returning from Peru in November 2011, Jo was offered a studio as Artist in Residence at The Edinburgh Academy, Scotland in order to complete the project. 'The Weavers', a large group portrait, and additional paintings and drawings from this time were exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery of Scotland and Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter between June 2012 and May 2013.
Jo is currently living and working in both Edinburgh and London and often gives workshops for The National Portrait Gallery and The National Portrait Gallery of Scotland.