Present, Not Perfect
Jo Situ Allen is a California naturalist and artist known for her dreamy works in ink and watercolor. Her love for creative expression started when she was young. Growing up in China and Los Angeles, her life was always filled with art, music, style, and literature. Whether it was a moving passage from a book, an unforgettable cinematic moment or dandelions peeking through concrete sidewalks - to Jo, these moments were all love letters sent from the universe.
This spiritual connection to nature led to a degree in Geography / Environmental Studies at UCLA - where Jo almost became a Bryologist (that's right, a moss scientist) in the process.
While there, she was mesmerized by the bands Le Tigre, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Ladytron, Camera Obscura, Cat Power and the feminist punk ethos of the Riot Grrl movement. Inspired by the voices of girls with fierce attitudes and something to say, Jo started a comic series in 2001 which lead to the conception of DIRTY ERASER - expressing her perspective on life - "Present, Not Perfect."
Jo has worked at the UCLA Climate Change lab, Greenpeace, and as an environmental advisor while moonlighting as an artist. She sold her her hand-sewn comic books, screen-printed fanny packs made from vintage textiles, and art prints at the LA punk craft fair Bizarre Bazaar.
In 2009, she graduated from Presidio Graduate School with an MBA in Sustainable Management. She co-founded a sustainability agency, lived abroad in Hong Kong, became a mother of two and continued to create.
These days Dirty Eraser is known for her creative vision and instantly recognizable illustration style.
In 2018, she was inspired to create in a three dimensional and wearable medium. The MNTRA collection is grounded by her spiritual journey and her love of jewelry. Each piece in the collection is handmade in California in gold, diamonds, pearls, silk and gemstones.
In 2019, she completed several murals - most notably her first public mural. Titled "Daytripper," the 30 feet long mural (in downtown Laguna Beach) is a celebration of California's native species.
Jo has brought her thoughtful, dreamy and playful spirit to live art events/collaborations for ILIA, Odacite, Richer Poorer, Jenni Kayne, Fashion Mamas, Holi Frog, Sisters Divine and other rad brands.
Jo is passionate about intersectional feminism and environmental justice. She is on the Diversity Committee at Fashion Mamas and chairs the Diversity Committee at her local public elementary school.
Published Book Titles:
"The Accidental Naturalist: Exploring the Flora and Fauna of Laguna Beach and Beyond (2016)
"The Accidental Naturalist: Exploring the Flora and Fauna of San Francisco and Beyond" (2017)
"The Accidental Naturalist: Exploring the Flora and Fauna of Los Angeles and Beyond" (TBD)
Published by Brook Street Books
For commissions and collaborations, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also DM her on Instagram @dirty_eraser