Joni Johnson-Godsy grew up in Ashland Ohio. Her love of animals started from her first memories as a child and was a passion that grew even stronger over time.
In her youth she spent countless hours exploring the creeks and woods near her family’s home watching the wildlife that was typical in that part of the Midwest. Her curiosity about nature and love of the outdoors was inexhaustible.
Joni studied fine art at Ohio State University and went on to art school at the Art Institute of Pittsburg, PA where she graduated with honors. Upon graduation she secured a position as greeting card illustrator with Hallmark Cards Inc. which required a re-location to the Kansas City area.
Joni created illustrations for Hallmark Cards for twenty one years, having her work published and sold on Hallmark product in North America and Europe. As time passed, her artistic focus made the inevitable change to that of wildlife. In 2001 she decided that the time had come to dedicate her energies toward her passion for art and nature. She became a part-time employee at Hallmark, dividing her time between two very different artistic disciplines. Her wildlife paintings garnered immediate attention from national exhibitions and collectors and it became apparent that a full-time effort was needed to pursue this endeavor. Joni left Hallmark in the summer of 2006 to give her full attention to wildlife painting.
Joni has traveled the world to gather reference materials for her paintings. In May of 2004 she and her husband Alan spent four weeks in southern Africa on photographic safari, traveling in the countries of Zambia, Botswana, and South Africa. It was a lifelong dream for Joni to see the great creatures of Africa living as they were meant to live in the wild. This trip has resulted in many paintings by which she hopes to stir the imaginations of anyone who dreams of that great land and shares her passion for it. Conservation is the driving force behind all that motivates Joni as she paints.