Jo Ford was born and grew up in California, but spent her early childhood in New Orleans, Louisiana. She received her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, studying with artists such as Robert Colescott and Irene Pijoan. Jo went on to get her MFA from UC Berkeley, where she received instruction from Squeak Carnwath, Wendy Sussman, John McNamara, and Richard Shaw, amongst others.
In showing her work, Jo has won awards from such jurors as Renee Pritikin, Enrique Chagoya, as well as from the California State Fair and the Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Jo has taught both Art and English in public middle and high schools for over fifteen years. She currently lives and works in Oakland, California with her husband and their two sons.