Joanna Zjawinska was born in Poland where she began to paint at the early age of six. She earned her B.A. degree in 1972 from the School of Architecture in Warsaw. To follow her own dream of being an artist, Joanna then studied at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts where she perfected her unique style of oil and watercolor painting. In 1978 she was awarded a masters degree in Graphic Design with honors in painting from the academy which is one of the most prestigious school in Europe. In 1979 Joanna came to San Francisco with her husband, Mark, and daughter, Sonia, and formally launched her career.
Joanna’s paintings transport us to worlds of fantasy and elegance in images that explore complex, passionate relationships. Inspired by artists such as Vermeer, Degas and Sargent, Joanna expresses her passion for life, her family, her homeland and her adopted home. Her world is feminine and seductive.
Where her early paintings were filled with beautiful and chic people, theatrical scenery and voyeurism, her current work tells a simpler story. Still influenced by cinema, fashion and music, Zjawinska strives to create beauty in face and form, in landscape or abstract setting, and this theme remains integral to her work. She relies on strong composition and a deeper palette to create visions of mysterious women who seek and reveal passion.
Joanna’s paintings are housed in many prestigious private and public collections including the National Museum in Torun, Poland; the Polish Institute of New York; Guerlain Perfumes, Paris; Elizabeth Arden, San Francisco; Nordstrom, Inc., Seattle; Warner/Vanderbilt, New York; and the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. She has exhibited in numerous galleries both international and national. In 2001 she had a retrospective show "The sweet taste of freedom" in famous Napa Valley winery of Robert Mondavi and in 2003 her show "A handsome husband is better than a mink coat" was at Saks Fifth Avenue in San Francisco.
Ms. Zjawinska has received renown for her rich, expressive oils and watercolors as well as for her outstanding collections of limited edition serigraphs.