Monday, 16 August 2010

Artist of the Week - Anthea Walsh

Anthea Walsh produces original textile art works based on her direct observation drawings, translating these to other mediums such as silkscreen print and digital print combined with hand embroidery.

Where did you train? What did training teach you and what do you wish it had taught you?
I did a BA in Fine Art at Falmouth college of Art. It was a very open minded course with a strong emphasis on self motivated learning. It taught me to explore my interests and to find out what they were. I wish it had prepared me more for the reality that comes after leaving the golden bubble of college life, but then again the difficulties I experienced in the couple of years that followed are what motivated me to focus, take my art practice more seriously and also to specialise by doing an MA in Textile Design at Winchester School of Art. So there is something to be learnt from every situation.

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
It has never felt like a conscious decision, I have always been creative and just knew it was something I had to pursue.

One favourite living artist?
Somewhat unrelated to my field, but my favourite living artist is Iggy Pop. And what a life he’s had! His powerful performance, his passion, originality and most of all his music, is hugely inspiring. I also admire his struggle and perseverance over the years.

One favourite historical artist?
I have many favourite historical artists, but for the sake of choosing one I will say Max Ernst. I like the way his mind works, his inventiveness and the emblematic qualities of his art.

Where do you get most of your inspiration from?
I am always inspired by museum natural history collections. When I travel to a new city I try to visit their natural history museum. The Rothschild Zoological museum in Tring is one of my favourite in Britain, a great spot for drawing and quiet contemplation.

What is the most interesting/fun job you have had and why?
I was once asked in a bar on a small Greek island if I could paint a sign for a boat that took tourists on day trips round the nearby islands. I turned up the next day and was presented with a couple of paint brushes, gold paint and the back end of the boat! Not the easiest thing, stretching over the very edge of the quay trying to keep a steady hand whilst simultaneously inventing a suitable typeface for the infamous Barbarossa while she swayed back and forth in the sea. I was paid in shots of single malt whiskey and a free boat trip for me and my friends.

Do you work mostly on your own? Have you had any interesting work related collaborations?
I have always worked on my own but I am open to the idea of collaborating. It is something I have been considering lately.

At age 18 who most influenced your style?
Edward Burne-Jones, Henry Fuseli, PJ Harvey and Vincent Price.

How much do you bend your ‘vision’ to suit the marketplace- if at all?
I don’t. My theory is that if I carry on making the work I believe in, it will eventually find its own market.

Who would you say buys your work?
People with excellent taste?

Where and what is your studio?
I am between studios at the moment but have just started a new project in Newcastle, working with the Great North Museum natural history department in their resource centre, drawing specimens from their wonderful taxidermy collection on site.

Do you have a good work/life balance?
No, never. I like the idea of it though.

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?

If you could be doing anything else what would it be?
There are other things I could be doing but nothing else that I want to be doing.

If you could exhibit in any gallery in the world, which would it be?
I love the Sir John Soane’s Museum in London.

Anthea will be exhibiting at the Palace Art Fair in October and will be giving a lecture on her creative practice at The Embroiderer’s Guild in Bristol on Tuesday April 19th 2011.

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