Artist Feature ://
Posted September 2018
Anna Mac describes the way she paints as feeling like a game of building and taking away, the smallest edition of a shape or use of colour can transform the painting. She argues that the evolution of each painting can come quickly if each move fits with the next, and some can be a complex journey of changes and wrong moves. Either way, a piece builds and builds until everything 'fits'. Peeks of layers underneath show through and I like to complement those delicate details with bold clean shapes.
‘Asleep in the sand with the ocean washing over’, Anna Mac. Acrylic on paper, 2018.
‘Dock’, Anna Mac. Acrylic on paper, 2018.
Q. Could you tell me a bit about the concept behind the work?
How do you compose a composition? Or is the material process of adding and removing what eventually builds a piece and therefore the concept? When I paint I very much go with my gut feeling. Layers, colours, movement and shapes all are part of the game, if one element isn’t working I’ll keep going until it feels right. The game can be short with only several moves and sometimes it’s long and challenging until it all clicks into place. Sometimes the smallest change of a colour or shape can transform and complete the piece. Whichever way it plays out, the end result should represent a strong sense of balance, colour and composition. I also want to either bring a sense of calm or a sense of happiness. To me, this is what I want to feel in my environment. I translate this in my work by either using very soft subtle colours and texture compared to the bold colours and clean lines of other pieces.
‘Empty room busy mind no. 1 and no. 2’, Anna Mac. Acrylic on canvas, 2018.
Q . Do you have a particular artist who has inspired your work?
Matisse opened my mind with his simplicity. Being restrained in your work can be difficult, fighting the urge to keep adding more and more and knowing when to stop. I saw Matisse’s ‘The Cut-Outs’’ exhibition at the Tate Modern a few years ago and something about the simplicity of his work really clicked with me. It gave me the confidence to do what I liked. I didn’t have to create something complex to be beautiful. Sometimes the most captivating of pieces can be the most simple, and that has as much value as a complex piece of work.
Q. It is clear you have developed a very identifiable visual style with your work, how did you get to this point? And do you intend to change your approach in the future?
I tell myself not to be afraid to experiment and push myself out of my comfort zone. Try new things, be vulnerable and true to what excites you. I spent a lot of time trying lots of different ideas using different mediums, it’s only through this process and it can be a painful process, you start to decipher your own individual style and path. I don’t have any intention to change my approach as I think it works for me and I’m sure my style will change regardless. I think it has to, even in the most subtle of ways. We are always adapting to our environment and emotions and I think this has an effect on the work we produce whether we realise it or not.
‘Balance’, Anna Mac. Acrylic on paper, 2018.
Q. How do you price your work?
This is really difficult as I think naturally creatives undervalue their work for whatever reason. I personally feel it’s earnt over time. Start off small and build as your style grows.
Q. Did you study? If so, where and how influential was it for you?
I studied Fine Art at York College, then Jewellery and Silversmithing at Sir John Cass University, London. College was great as it enabled us to experiment and explore different specialities with no limitations. Unfortunately, through lack of confidence and immaturity, I decided to pursue Jewellery and Silversmithing as a degree, which only with hindsight I realise that this was the wrong decision. I was never a 3D person but felt that I’d have more success and a ‘proper’ career as a Jeweller rather than an artist. I was swept up in a romantic view of it all. In reality University was a waste of time for me, I was uninspired and coming to the realisation that this wasn’t what I wanted to do. Looking back, I would have done things very differently but as we all know these ‘mistakes’ are all part of how we get to where we are now.
‘Thea’, Anna Mac. Acrylic on canvas, 2017.
Q. If you had one piece of advice for an artist trying to sell their work what would it be?
Believe in what you do.
‘Market day in Saint-Malo’, Anna Mac. Acrylic on plywood panel, 2018.
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