Born in Plymouth, Josie McCoy studied Fine Art at Solihull College followed by Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. McCoy's first solo exhibition took place at the Centre of Attention, London in 2000. McCoy has since exhibited her work in galleries across Europe, including ATM Gallery, Gijón, 10 Grosvenor Street, London and Sporting Club Russafa. McCoy's work is held in numerous collections, including those of the BBC, the University of Wales and the Centre of Attention Permanent Collection. McCoy's Self-Portrait (2005) was acquired by Ruth Borchard Collection in 2011.
McCoy's body of work largely consists of portraits of film and television characters. McCoy's art blurs the lines between fiction and reality, aiming to create a new and heightened realities for the characters she depicts. As critic Laura Oldfield Ford has said of McCoy's work: The faces of the subjects, almost always women, are the smoothed over and unblemished masks of the global videodrome... These are the blank stares of the undead, self-renewing, waiting for the fantasies of the viewer to be projected onto them.'
While McCoy's hyper-realistic Self-Portrait is suggestive of the real, McCoy incorporates luminous blue and green underpainting in her work in order to suggest the glow of a screen, a nod to her fascination with television and cinema.