Introducing someone you know and love is never easy. I could go on for hours on this person’s awesomeness and attractiveness, but in the interest of sticking to the “short and sweet” post format, I will just outline the facts. Dearest readers, meet Anna Ancher. Hip hip hooray! Anna is a complete fox, but this is not why you are reading about her. No sir! This lady is a clever and dedicated architect. Yes she is. But yet again, that’s not why we are here. The reason I wanted to tell you all about Miss Ancher is because of her art – her beautiful, intriguing and captivating mixed-media drawings. Anna is holding her first ever solo show which opens this Friday. I think you should come along, bring your cheque-books and nab yourselves an absolute bargain before her stuff becomes unaffordable.

Featured Project // ‘Metropolis‘, Solo exhibition of recent work at Ginkgo Gallery, 166 St. John’s Road, Glebe (Sydney). Exhibition opens 6 July 2012, 6-8pm, and runs through to 31 Jul 2012.

Why Anna Rocks // One doesn’t need to be an expert in evaluating art to appreciate Anna wonderful work. Her engaging pieces are easy on the eye and I could get lost in them hours. Go Anna!

Below is a little Q&A with the artist.

Crane #1 // Black pencil on watercolour paper, 2011.
930mm high x 1280mm wide (framed dimensions).

 

+ What is the main driver / source of inspiration behind your work – i.e do you work to a specific brief, a particular concept, your favourite song or a book etc?

The uniform concept that informs all my work is finding a way to express the ‘echo’ of the image, or to put it another way, loading my work with a feeling that there is something just outside the field vision that is none the less exerting some tension on the image.

One particular source of inspiration comes to mind when I try to express this idea of feeling an ‘otherness’ outside the actual artwork: Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, painted in 1942. Hopper portrays the quintessential American diner late at night with a subtle ambiguity that has always moved me. He presents us with a very ordinary scene on the face of it; three customers variously seated up at a central counter with a solitary waiter working in the diner. And yet as you gaze at the painting a little longer you begin to feel something is just about to happen, something is gathering pace. Is there a slightly sinister air to the image, or is it sadness and resignation, late night feelings of disillusion with life experienced by these patrons who seem to have nowhere better to go.

It’s palpable, but intangible. It is emotion but it’s ambiguous. And achieving that careful possibility with subjects that aren’t what you may first associate with that intention and without actually spelling it out to the viewer completely is something I strive for in my work.

I also think it’s about beauty, the definition of which is always subjective. My work in architecture means I always find myself attracted to construction, but it’s not always the classic built form. I find the slender arm of a crane in partial silhouette very elegant. The contrast of the delicate tracery of open scaffold winding up the face of a skyscraper in the middle of the city is delicate and beautiful.

Crane #3 // Black pencil on watercolour paper, 2012.
Approx 1150mm wide x 1020mm high (unframed dimensions).

 

+ What do you love the most about your work?

I love that I start to draw and find that hours have passed by and I haven’t even noticed! I really enjoy the act of drawing, making marks on a blank page, pulling thoughts and intentions out my mind and making them visible to everyone else.

I love the very stark contrast that working predominantly in black and white allows me. It means I get very graphic results that are strong and uncompromising.

And I really love that the strength of that black and white image is a massive contradiction alongside the ambiguity and sense of suggestion that I’m trying to convey through the subject, as I described in the previous question. That’s the inherent tension and opposition I really enjoy working with.

Crane Gantry #1 // Mixed media (pencil, oilstick, Indian ink, paper collage) on watercolour paper, 2012. 
Approx 1150mm wide x 1320mm high (unframed dimensions).

 

+ Did you learn anything during the preparation for your upcoming show? Would you have done anything differently?

I have had work shown in group exhibitions/competitions previously, but this is my first solo show so I learnt a huge amount preparing for this one!

Although I would love have more time to spend on my drawing, the reality of life is that I have to juggle that time with work and family commitments, and I know that is a common story for most people who are nurturing the start of a creative enterprise. It intimidates you if you let it, and it can feel a bit like you aren’t ever going to get any momentum up.

But rather than say it’s just all too much and all too hard, I think a really important thing was for me to recognize there would always be a bit of a lead time involved in amassing a suitable body of work, but that it shouldn’t stop me aiming to have an exhibition at some stage. And that was a very important thing to accept. It allowed me to revel in the process of creating the drawings, not stress out about an exhibition deadline.

Left – Flat Iron II // Right – Flat Iron I
Black pencil + Indian ink wash on watercolour paper, 2011.
Both pieces are 930mm high x 720mm wide (framed dimensions)

 

+ Any other interesting facts about your work you could share with us?

Initially I started drawing in soft black pencil on rough paper because I loved the Carceri etchings of Piranesi, but since I had never learnt how to etch, I was trying to work out a way to draw that gave me the same textured depth and body in those amazing 18th century etchings (and it’s still high on my list of things to do – learn how to etch!)

Left // Midtown Reverie // Black pencil on watercolour paper, 2011.
Right // Midtown Blue // Indian ink on watercolour paper, 2011.
Both pieces are 930mm high x 720mm wide (framed dimensions)

 

NYC Empire Landscape // Black pencil + oil stick on watercolour paper, 2012.
Approx 800mm high x 1100mm wide (unframed dimensions).

 

+ Best piece of advice you’ve been given?

I think the most enabling advice I’ve been given was at the very beginning when I was edging around the idea but a bit nervous about dipping a toe in the water, whether I could handle making such an investment of myself but then perhaps fail.

The advice was that it is infinitely better to try to do it and possibly nothing come of it, than not do it at all because of a fear that nothing might come of it. And it’s true; I found that once you accept that possibility it almost becomes irrelevant, it loses the sting in the tail because the fear that it mightn’t work hasn’t actually stopped you trying. And that applies to most things in life I guess!

NYC Lamp and Scaffold // Black pencil on watercolour paper, 2011.
930mm high x 720mm wide (framed dimensions)

 

+ Your most treasured belonging…

Aside from photos and other sentimental personal things, I do treasure my Arco Lamp. It’s incredible to reflect on the fact it was designed in 1962. It is the essence of beautiful and timeless design excellence.

+ Nothing inspires me like…

Ok so it sounds very cliché but my family and friends are my constant inspiration. I feel so lucky because I am surrounded by all these incredibly talented and creative people and the energy and possibility that they display in their work and lives inspires me to try my own ideas out to see what might come of them.

NYC Skyline // Black pencil + oil stick on watercolour paper, 2012.
Approx 720mm high x 930mm wide (unframed dimensions).

 

+ I am really good at…

Unfortunately I’m excellent at taking on a bit too much at any one time (but it’s slowly teaching me awesome time-management skills so maybe it’s a good thing!)

+ Most people don’t know that I…

I am a complete sport-tragic. Doesn’t matter what sport it is, I absolutely love it (well maybe not golf, but everything else…)

Village Escalier // Black pencil on watercolour paper, 2011.
930mm high x 720mm wide (framed dimensions)

 


[Images courtesy of the artist.]

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor
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Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

6 Responses

  1. jessica

    i would love to check out the show…. where is the opening? and is that the flat iron building in chicago?

    Reply
  2. fiona

    really gorgeous! wish i could click my heels together and get there from australia… would it be possible to buy one of anna’s beautiful pieces (unframed) from here and send it on its way? have a great show x fiona

    Reply
    • yellowtrace
      yellowtrace

      Fiona – Anna is based in Sydney! You can contact the gallery (linked in the post at the top) to arrange a purchase. Or better still – come to the opening on Friday night if you are in Sydney.

      Reply
  3. Nick

    @jessica & @ fiona – as noted in this post, the exhibition is being held in Sydney, Australia.

    PS. The Flatiron (Fuller) Building is in Manhattan, New York.

    Reply

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