JoAnn Hagerty Humphrey’s life has revolved around art ever since she was introduced to painting as little girl when she was sick with the measles and had to stay home from school.

“A guy was painting our bedroom, and I asked ‘Can I try that?’ and he said, ‘Sure,’ and I painted all on top of the baseboard and I loved it. There was something about the brush. And I went around to all my relatives telling them I am going to be a painter when I grow up,” said Humphrey.

Humphrey stayed true to her word, and attended the Maryland Institute of Fine Art where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture and painting with further graduate studies at the Otis Fashion Art Institute in Los Angeles and New York. She later created an art program, teaching in public and private schools throughout the Los Angeles area.

Since moving to Mendocino ten years ago, Humphrey has dedicated her time to making her own art, focusing on ceramics.


“I have always been a painter or designer, but when I came up here ten years ago, I just started focusing on my ceramics, which I had never taken too seriously. I have since spent years relearning all about the clay, firing and different surface treatments,” said Humphrey.

After dedicating many hours to her craft, Humphrey now feels she has gotten to a place where she can experiment. Her show, Irresistible Obsession, at Cobalt, Gallery of Fine Art and Design, is a reflection of that.

Her show at the Cobalt centers around nature, which has been a recurring theme throughout her work.

“I use elements to bring the piece into another dimension. Through shadow it becomes more of a living things because when you move, it changes all the time,” said Humphrey.