[Picture credit @kosintime]
Today’s WIA artist profile features Anna Hymas. Anna has recently been commissioned by Transport for London to create four images of London, which are currently exhibited throughout the Underground. Anna works in oil, textiles and ceramics and her work has been shown in the UK and internationally. She reveals her inspirations and creative processes in our Q&A. Read on.
What are you doing today?
It’s my first day back in the studio after the New Year so I’m ruthlessly sorting out my work space to make room for new ideas. And I just ordered a batch of canvases so I’m all set to go.
Tell us about your creative process
I find moving furniture around strangely inspiring. I often just start painting a canvas without having a definite idea of how it will end up, but the fabrics and interiors around me fuel my ideas. Then I use layers of paint and pattern to see what emerges.
Describe where you do most of your creative work
I have a room at the top of the house where I can paint in oils, but I also work as a illustrator so need to be near my computer and desk. I often have to juggle this with family life and being involved with the kids when they’re home from school, so I often start work on the kitchen table.
What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
Well at this moment it’s a collection of four posters for Transport for London currently exhibiting all over the London Underground. It’s very exciting.
I have also worked for the National Portrait Gallery, creating a family guide to their BP Portrait exhibition and running workshops for children. I also have a new gallery, Gallerina, representing me in the North of England, which is great.
What made you decide to become an artist?
I have always had a need to create and make things. My family is artistic. I was brought up with my Dad’s music and paintings by my Mum. I originally trained to be a dancer but soon realised that my true vocation was drawing and painting.
What are you currently working on now?
I have just finished a large painting commission – a 2 x 1.5 m canvas – now I’m planning some new oil paintings and cutting up work to create collages. I also have an illustration commmission to create a map for a London park.
What are the key themes in your work?
I love colour, pattern, layers, the shapes of pots & bowls, fabrics, embroidery, beads. And almost always a touch of red.
What would you like people to notice in your work?
Energy and colour
What attracts you to the mediums you work in?
I work in oil, I love the richness of it, mixing colours and the fact that it doesn’t dry out too quickly. My palettes become very heavy with lovely mounds of paint…
In contrast, for illustration work I work on the computer. First drawing by hand, then scanning it in. Altogether a much cleaner experience and amazing what you can do at the touch of a button!
What equipment could you not do without?
My paints, my computer and a very old palette knife I have never been able to replace.
Who or what inspires you?
A difficult question as there are so many things. Painters I am drawn to are Matisse, Bacon, De Kooning, Basquiat and Bonnard. And a trip to the V&A museum always inspires me. Especially the Japanese prints and Chinese Vases.
How does gender affect your work?
As a woman I have to juggle and have learnt to be creative in the times I have when I am not being a mother. I often have creative ideas brewing in my head but they have to compete for space with all the things I have to remember for my family.
What’s your favourite gallery, or place to see or experience art?
I was blown away by the recent Abstract Expressionist exhibition at the RA and the new Tate Modern building. But I will always love the V&A.
If you could own one piece of art, what would it be and why?
Henri Matisse’s – Seville Still Life (c 1910 1911)
I just love this painting, it makes me smile for all it’s energy, pattern and colour.
If you could collaborate with one artist, from any time, who would it be, and why?
I’d like to learn Japanese print making from the old masters.
What’s your favourite colour?