For local illustrator and graphic designer Jo Hugo, growing up near the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro served to cultivate a lasting fascination for Africa's diverse wildlife. Born in Kenya to a British mother and South African father, Jo went on to spend the idyllic days of her youth on a family farm in Tanzania, where she was surrounded by the rich and varied wildlife for which the country is so renowned.
This love and appreciation for the animal kingdom has been artfully portrayed in her newly launched AfricAnatomy range of contemporary wildlife illustrations. She has taken a wonderfully fresh approach in the drawing of her subjects, whereby the skeleton is accurately represented within each animal , using only the monochrome tones of black, white and grey. The results are incredibly striking and original.
Jo started her journey in design and illustration at the Ruth Prowse School of Art in Cape Town and went on to further her studies in Dublin, Ireland. She spent several years working in Ireland before moving to Cape Town, where she worked as a Senior Graphic Designer for a large advertising agency for many years. In 2006, Jo decided to leave the hustle and bustle of the Mother City behind and headed for the quieter shores of Knysna, where she has lived ever since.
AfricAnatomy is essentially a “meshing” - as she calls it - of her love for wildlife, for Knysna and her strong conservation stance. The illustrations include a wide range of animals, including the Big 5, a Marine 5 and what she dubs the Ugly 5, which includes a vulture and a Spotted Hyena. On the back of each card are several educational facts about each animal, including general characteristics and conservation status. A percentage of sales from her products will be donated to Wildlife Conservation Trusts in South Africa. Her designs have been printed locally on both greeting cards (printed on paper made from 100% post-consumer waste) and calendars. She has plans to also produce a range of t-shirts in the future.
The AfricAnatomy range is available for purchase at Madame Botany on Gray Street, Ocean Odyssey on Thesen Island and Hands Design Collective in the Templeman Square on the Main Road and the Knysna Tourism Offices.
AfricAnatomy is a yet another great example of the incredible artistic talent and innovation found throughout the Greater Knysna area.