STEPHANIE JO was born in Winnipeg in 1995 to an artistic family. At around 14 years old, she
started drawing seriously. She took art courses in high school, but is mostly self-taught. From
the start, her primary interest was mandalas – the circular and symmetrical diagrams of
Buddhist origin that are often used to stimulate meditation. But Stephanie saw other
connections with mandalas that were more closely related to her own Métis background:
medicine wheels and dream-catchers – along with the intricate heraldic forms known as Zentangles. She incorporates images of animals, and words from the indigenous Seven Teachings.
These themes are combined into new objects that express the feeling that, despite elements of
the real world that inspire fear or terror, meditation on intricate forms like Stephanie’s can
offer healing and protection. Equally important, producing such forms provides release for her.
Stephanie uses acrylic paints and markers on canvas or board, adding sparkling elements of
“bling” to the patterns. She has extended her artistic production to greeting cards, drink
coasters, a mandala colouring book, and removable henna tattoos. In the future, she is
considering learning to design and apply permanent tattoos as well. She is always interested in
teaching and sharing her craft with others who want to make mandalas. “I’m creative, and a
fast worker,” says Stephanie of her intricate artwork.