Interview with Artist Anna Maly
APM Blog: Thank you for taking a moment to tell us about your life as an artist and your artwork. Can you tell us about your background?
Anna: I do not have a professional art education to speak of, unless you count Sunday art classes throughout my childhood. I grew up in Moscow, Russia where the abstract art was not permitted until mid-late 1980s. Unfortunately, abstract art was the only I have ever been interested in, and so I did not really start making any art until I moved to the States in 1999. After I moved, I had a very busy and time consuming career in sales and marketing management, which left no time or energy for much of anything. I really started creating a lot of art both digital and colored pencil in 2006, and the last two years have been especially productive, since I no longer have a day job. Now I happily can tell anybody who asks that I am a full time artist, since I spend 6 to 8 hours a day doing what I love the most.
APM Blog: Congratulations on the transition to full time artist! What are some of the best and worst things about being a full time artist? Do you have any advice for artists who are trying to make the jump?
Anna: The best thing is not knowing what comes from under the pencil today, and relish the excitement. The worst thing is the business part of the art world. You see, for 22 years I did sales and marketing in the corporate environment, so now when the time came to sell myself, I can’t help but cringe. The environment is different, the product is close to my heart, but the process… eeh. I bet many artists go through the same notions regardless of their background. In sales we always said: the success is 90 percent preparation and 10 percent perspiration. In art, it seems the preparation accounts for 1 percent, inspiration takes 49, and if the artist wants to make a living he/she has got to perspire heavily, 50 percent worth, to market and sell themselves. I don’t enjoy that, and luckily don’t have to do it much, so I spend pretty much all of my time creating, that makes me insanely happy.
APM Blog: Are the images you submitted to our international juried art competition part of a larger series? What are some of the ideas behind that work?
Anna: The two colored pencil drawings I have submitted are indeed part of a series. The “Abstract your thought” body of work consists of moot clairvoyant images. Each image has a carefully chosen name, that gives the viewer the direction for his or her thought. I want to encourage the observers to try to deviate from a common perception and see things differently. I’ll give you an example: in the “colors of obsequiousness” drawing I don’t only show the brown nose and the minty fresh breath but also the eye green with envy, for obsequiousness is not by any measure a genuine manifestation of one’s desire to serve, but has the underlining hidden carefully. In the drawings of these series I try to bring up some thought provoking moral issues, or philosophically charged situations, which if linked to the lines, shapes, and colors of the drawing may give a viewer a new bent perception.
AMP Blog: Interesting, so do you have the ideas in place ahead of time or do they develop as the work evolves?
Anna: In example above, I had a clear idea I wanted to convey after an encounter with a very obsequies store clerk. I did not have the complete image in my head, and just let the inspiration guide me. Or, few month ago I was sitting across the table from my studying kid, and got inspired to create a piece called “Homework”, which by the way is probably the only more or less realistic image I have ever completed: I actually drew objects, how strange of me. Other times I complete the drawing first, and then let my imagination lead me to the title. There is an explanation to every title though, there is an idea behind each one, a thought, an emotion, a situation, a memory.
APM Blog: What can you tell us about the process and materials in your work?
Anna: I start with a sketch and usually have no complete vision of the color scheme. Each drawing takes about 40 to 60 hours. I use Prisma color pencils and art stix on 90 Lbs paper. There are many details that can only be seen in close up, most details are in the color, rather than shape, however, the shapes and figures play the essential part, for ever changing planes and intersections remind us of how almost nothing is whole, there is no one answer to any question, no one common vision. When it comes to creating shapes and bending planes, I find my self staring at the page for a while, because I don’t use models like a piece of paper for example, so it takes time and mental muscle to figure out the shading. Great mind exercise.
APM Blog: Are there other artists, ideas, or fields of interest (such as science, literature or music) that influence your work? Can you describe how they influence you?
Anna: M.C. Escher is very interesting to me but I can’t tell that I am influenced by any artist. However, I am definitely influenced by philosophy, and the concept of separate reality. See, how do you know that what you see, and the way you see it is seen, and not just, but the same way by others? We know that animals see things differently, but how do you know some people don’t…. I guess my vision of the world is highly influenced by the works of the greatest Russian philosopher George Gurdjieff.
APM Blog: Is there somewhere we can see your work, such as an artist website or an upcoming art show?
Anna: my site is www.anna-maly.com and I have a solo show coming at the Buena Park City Hall with the opening date of October 9th.
APM Blog: Is there a link to this show?
Contact: Anna Maly
City and State: La Canada, CA
Email: Laanni35@ gmail.com