"I aim to create art that is strong, feminine, feminist, emotive and absorbing."
Tell us a little about you and your work.
I was born in New Zealand and have lived here all my life. It's a pretty fantastic little country!
How do you think the use of Instagram has benefited your art practice?
This is another funny question for me. I am not on Instagram but I know it can be really helpful for artists and an effective social media tool. I tried to sign up but, from my understanding, you need a phone that can use apps or something like that to get started - please correct me if I am wrong! My phone is practically from the '90s so I may have to get technologically upgraded before I can see what it is all about. Seems a bit contradictory, me being a digital artist and all …
Describe your personal style as an artist. Do you like to dress up to express yourself?
This is quite funny because I often feel like I dress pretty blandly in comparison to the art I make or what I have going on in my head. A lot of the time I'm at home in casual (super comfy) clothes but I like to have a creative, semi-androgynous vibe when I'm in public.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I almost creepily live in my computer. There's so much fantastic stuff online and I find it far more stimulating than what I see around me in real life. I follow a lot of photographers and artists who keep my creative juices flowing. Plus I love cinema and can always find inspiration there.
What do you most enjoy depicting in your art work and do you tend to get many opportunities to draw that subject matter in your line of work?
Most of my work is strongly centered around women and concepts of femininity. Fashion and art has always loved and appreciated the female form and face so I am lucky in this regard.
What is your creative process: do you sketch at first, listen particular music, collaborate with other artists, etc.?
This probably varies day to day but in general, it doesn't take much for me to feel inspired to create. I have a folder filled with images I like and ideas for new work so when I have some time or feel like pulling something from myself, I go there and the work flows pretty easily. I'm really independent as an artist and work 99% digitally these days.
Your artistic statement:
This is a little hard. I think many artists assume their art should speak for itself. But I know how I often enjoy reading what an artist's intent is, as it can deepen the reading of work ... for me, I aim to create art that is strong, feminine, feminist, emotive and absorbing.
Where do you shop for your art materials?
I am lucky that I work digitally because I don't know how other artists afford materials! Honestly, paint is so expensive! Creating on my MacBook is super efficient and I never have to go to the shops - win.
Do you do illustration full time? What other passions do you have?
Sadly, I am only a part-time artist and illustrator. The goal is to do this full time and cut the menial job that pays my rent. I know any artist is so grateful if they can make a proper living off this alone, so hopefully one day. As for other passions, I am pretty art-obsessed currently but I love cinema and also enjoy writing; both for my blog, The Visual Female, and creatively. I've challenged myself to write a novel before I die.
Are you actively involved in a community of artists?
No but I often wish I was. I feel pretty isolated, as an artist, where I live. Let's just say that my style and subject matter isn't quite to the tastes of other Christchurch artists ... but in a good way. I am planning to make more of an effort to connect with other artists from around the globe over the web.
Name your top three influences (artists or otherwise)
Only three! This is hard.
Abbey Watkins is a beyond-belief-talented artist, who continues to deliver the most breathtaking artwork. She inspires me to be more dark and evocative in my work. Everything about her is pretty much perfect.
Another person I love is Lars von Trier; his film Antichrist is hard to beat. His work is beautiful, provocative and funny all at once. The book 'The Word Burners' (by New Zealand author, Beryl Fletcher) made a huge impact on my life a few years ago. It's a feminist book set in the '80s and it really opened my eyes to the world that I see so clearly now.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Ideally, working full time as an artist and illustrator, living in some dreamy loft apartment, feeling fulfilled and accomplished daily. I say ideally, of course, but if you don't dream big then why bother?
What moves you?
Acts of kindness, sacrifice, a deserving person getting what they want, beating the patriarchy.
Your favorite color, why?
Hmm, my first instinct is black. It's such an important colour. White is too. Outside of them, I tend to go through colour phases so recently-ish I've loved pale tones like muted pinks, peaches and barely-there nudes. Now I am probably loving higher contrast so dark colours paired with stark whites. One colour I have never really liked is blue.
Your favorite place on Earth:
Anywhere where I feel safe and content.
Your dream place:
I go to so many places when I am asleep so bed is a pretty good place, I say.
Does environmental concern enter your work practice/has it altered it at all?
To be honest, not really. Obviously I do care about the environment and am proud that my personal carbon footprint is pretty tiny. I think working digitally as an artist is great too, in terms of resources and consumption. The core political agenda in my artwork right now is feminist issues; that is my fight.
What can make Earth a better place in terms of environment, energy and peace?
A huge change in attitude towards material goods and consumption!
People are so fixated on the most stupid things and really lack self-appointed direction and personal insight. A lot are simply mindless consumers, controlled by the patriarchal constructs set in place aeons ago. Breaking free and changing our values would be a fantastic start.
If you had an opportunity what would you change about the world? How can your vision, your creations impact our surrounding?
Banish the patriarchy. Allow women to use their own minds and stop competing with each other for male validation. It's really quite pathetic, how it is at the moment. I try to remind women of the feminine power within them in my art. Hopefully some people get it and it can encourage them (and others they know) to resonate at a higher level.
Support Anna McKay www.annamckayartist.com
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