November 27th, 2023Artists of the Central Highlands…
with Eve Lamb
The considerable artistry of Kyneton sculptor Anne Anderson has seen her work recognised with multiple high profile arts awards including the most recent Toorak Village Sculpture Prize. For this busy professional creative the schedule ahead includes exhibiting at McClelland Sculpture Park in Narre Warren in January and at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show in March. Anne chatted with Eve Lamb.
Eve: Hi Anne. Where do you do most of your art work?
Anne: I have a studio space that is just a short bike ride from my home in Kyneton. I share this work space with my husband Chris, who is a proficient blacksmith and welder. His talent facilitates much of my work in the form of armature, structural design and individual bases.
Eve: How did you come to art?
Anne: Though I come from a family of academics and sportsmen, I always felt called to the performing and visual arts. I never sought to be an artist, yet somehow art and artistic ventures always found their way to me. I feel that overseas travel has allowed me to have a broadened artistic education.
Eve: How should we best describe your artistic style? Does it fit a genre?
Anne: I think that my artistic style would be best described as unpredictable. I have an obsession of sculpting human faces. My pieces are mostly figurative, be they realistic, surreal or contemporary. My initial inspiration often sees many incarnations. Once I learnt that there really are no rules in art, I found a greater freedom to explore where I want to go with my work.
Eve: How did you nurture your innate arts talent?
Anne: In my personal experience, I have found that when it comes to art, the greatest way to learn is through doing. I have sought to learn a range of techniques that have allowed me to build a foundational skillset, but it is actually when we play and allow ourselves to create from the heart that the real magic happens.
Eve: Which artists have influenced your work?
Anne: I think for most artists, we are not only influenced by the work of widely recognised artists, but also the work of those we have had the opportunity to work alongside. My work has been influenced by artists you may know, like the Swiss sculptor, Alberto Giacometti, Australia’s Norman Lindsay and Americans, Frederick Hart and Richard MacDonald, and then some artists you may come to know, like Helena (Midge) Johansen and Klaus and Ingrid Dusselberg.
Eve: What is your media of choice?
Anne: It is difficult to compare other media to bronze if you are looking at preserving a sculpture for any amount of time, and let’s face it, after many tens, if not hundreds of hours of work, a sculptor often wants to see their piece preserved and appreciated for as long as possible. That said, my heart will always rejoice in getting my hands dirty in clay. I revel in the earthy feel, malleability and (mostly) predictable response I receive from clay.
Eve: Have you ever worked in any other areas besides working as an artist?
Anne: For nearly 20 years, my husband and I ran a theatrical agency. I also performed as a professional singer. Both of these professions saw me surrounded by creative individuals who always reminded me that there are many ways of looking at different situations in life.
Eve: When you work in the studio do you like to play music?
Anne: I always play music whilst I work. I find it allows me to truly relax into the moment and get lost in the creating. Quite often my soundtrack will be classical, but I also enjoy contemporary classics, jazz and music theatre.
Eve: To date, what have been your career highlights as an artist?
Anne: I have been lucky to have won first prize in the Margaret Gunnersen William Hoggan Thomas Award for the Annual Association of Sculptors of Victoria on two occasions. Also, winning the last Toorak Village Sculpture Prize was very exciting. Having my work displayed permanently in the City of Greater Geelong is also thrilling.
Eve: Do you have any exhibitions or special events coming up that you’d like to let others know about?
Anne: As a member of the Association of Sculptors of Victoria, I’m pleased to say that I will be exhibiting with this group at McClelland Sculpture Park in Narre Warren in January, 2024, as well as at Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show in March, 2024. My work can also be viewed and purchased via my website and can often be found at exhibitions throughout Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. I regularly have work for sale at Art On Piper in Kyneton, which is a popular artist collective representing work by local artists.
Eve: What would you rate as the biggest challenges in being a professional working artist today?
Anne: There are many costs associated with acquiring and utilizing quality materials, as well as a large number of man hours that go into hand crafting high quality, unique pieces. I think the greatest challenge for any professional artist is not only finding the confidence to charge prices that are reflective of these factors and fairly
compensate our time and efforts, but then to also put in the legwork to get your work in front of eyes that appreciate art enough to invest in it.
Eve: And, for you personally, the greatest rewards?
Anne: There is no greater reward for an artist than the honour of someone feeling a connection to something that you have created. Art is meant to move people. When you are lucky enough to witness that magical moment for someone it is one of the most humbling and fulfilling experiences.