Wednesday, 14 April 2010

artist anna-wili highfield







I'm really excited to share today's post for several reasons. One is because I finally discovered (via Jacqui Lewis's great blog) the talent behind an owl I spotted at Sibella Court's house recently. The second is because it's an example of what I want to do more on this blog - take photos of people in their creative spaces. And thirdly, it was so inspiring to actually meet Anna-Wili, who is not only incredibly gifted (she sews each sculpture - no glue, tape or staples are used) but also inspiring because she proves that if you pursue what you love the rest will fall into place. Oh, and her dad was a pupeteer - how brilliant is that!

What was your first job and what path have you taken since? Scenic painting for Opera Australia. I learnt so much about the alchemy of painting materials, how to achieve the effects of nature through the process of layers and reactions between paints. I think the time I spent at Opera Australia has really influenced my practice. I now make sculptures from paper that I stain and tear, then sew to create the figure of an animal. The opera influenced my love of materials and the desire to create an impression of the natural world.
What's the best lesson you've learnt along the way? To spend more time making then thinking. I don't like to try to plan a piece. My work evolves most effectively when I just start. I spent the whole of art school parralysed by too much consideration. I am now very prolific.
What's your proudest career achievement? The momentum that I am enjoying. Also that my animals have travelled to the homes of people in London, Paris, New York, Toronto and Melbourne!
What's the best decision you've made? To have a website created so that I enjoyed the encouragement of people seeking my work out and the fun of going it alone without worry of acceptance and critique (and heavy gallery commissions). I love to meet the people I am making the sculptures for, to know who they are and where my sculptures are going. I find this very fulfilling.
Who inspires you? The artists that inspire me are usually representational artists who allow the spaces between things. I love a piece of art that represents a little and then allows your mind to fill in some more. Artists like Luc Tuymans, Gerghardt Richter, Anselm Keifer, August Rodin, I just saw some William Kentridge animated drawings this afternoon, they were heavy and sad but so beautifully constructed and erased. Also my husband Simon Cavanough for his art and who he is. He is also the most helpful critic of my work. Also the music of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds.
What are you passionate about? Making beautiful things.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Since I was 16 the person I most wanted to meet was Nick Cave. But I don't think I ever really wanted to. I was standing two feet away at a music festival recently. I saw him and felt like my bones were out of my body. It wasn't fun.
What dream do you still want to fulfill? Simply to be able to keep on steadily making my art.
What are you reading? The Great Gatsby because I'm in New York.

images daily imprint

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

i love you work, really!
Mystical, suave so beautiful!
great work.
Maria Villa

lisa :: the red thread said...

I absolutely love Anna-Wili's work. It's incredible.
Thanks for the insight into the artist.

Natalie Walton said...

Lisa - it's divine, isn't it. And congrats on the recent write up in Notebook. x

Natalie Walton said...

Thanks for writing in, Maria. Love YOUR work! Natalie

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