The artist’s mind: 10 mins with Nicola Anthony

The artist’s mind: 10 mins with Nicola Anthony [See original article here]

What is your favourite film of all time?

I would have to say ‘It’s a wonderful life’ (Frank Capra), it’s such an atmospheric and touching old film. I particularly like the representation of ‘God’ as a solar system and the angel as a far off pin point of light. I recently saw it again at Wilton’s Music Hall in East London, projected onto a screen in their slightly decaying music hall, strewn with fairy lights – magic.

What music are you currently listening to and why?

Minty Sheridan, a singer I recently discovered, and Regina Spektor. I like beautiful singing and quirky lyrics to make drawings to.

Which living artists do you most admire and why?

I have always loved the work of Ernesto Neto, a Brazilian artist who creates sprawling, monstrous, playful sculptures which are very tactile and sensuous. Recently I was invited to a talk he gave at Tate Modern, and I was even more captivated by him and his animated, seemingly-haphazard quirky ways. He is quite a character. I actually wrote an article on it for Trebuchet Magazine (here). I’m also loving dotty Kusama – as is everyone at the moment – I must visit Tate again before it closes this month.

Which deceased artist do you most admire and why?

Sigmar Polke – a fantastic explorative artist who’s work with layers and irridescent or tranparent materials fascinates me, as does his alchemical approach to drawing and pattern. I like his more abstract and gestural paintings with almost hallucinagenic properties.

Which exhibition that you have visited made the greatest impact on you and why?

Well there have actually been many so it’s hard to pinpoint. I would say the Sensations exhibition (1997 at the Royal Academy of Art) as it was one of the first that spurred my decision to be a professional artist whilst I was still at school. More recently, Cildo Meireles and Teresita Fernandez have both been very inspirational and having an effect on the direction of my own artistic practice. I also get a lot of inspiration from the Jerwood Drawing exhibition which happens yearly.

What is the question you get asked most frequently about your work and how do you answer it?

I make a lot of very intricate artworks, so usually the first thing people want to know is how long it took and how it was made… and I never have an exact answer. As soon as I begin to make a piece of work I become absorbed in it, it’s not really like a day job, and sometimes long days go by and I’m deeply submerged in the world of creating. I never time things so I have to estimate the answer! Also there are a few techniques I use, such as with my glass work, which I pioneered myself and often baffle people as I’ve actually made up the techniques – so in a way I feel like a magician, I never tell the secrets of these tricks.

What / who inspired you to be an artist?

It was my parents who encouraged my creativity from a very young age. The first time I decided to truly persue it as my life’s work as opposed to something I am good at, was during that Sensations exhibition, so I guess I have the YBAs to thank too. I remember being in awe of a Jeff Koons metal dog-balloon: In a way, you could say that my fascination in the materials – the contrast between the shiny metal and the lightness of a ballon – is still deeply engrained in my practice. As a child I also went on a lot of family holidays to the coast, visiting inspirational creative hubs in Devon & Cornwall such as St Ives – at that age I remember being fascinated with the work of Moore & Hepworth, as well as cubist artist Juan Gris.

Can you tell us about where you make your art and what if any the significance of this location is?

I have my own studio situated on London’s Southbank. I love it here as there’s such a creative hub, with Bermondsey and the new White Cube to the east, Tate Modern and Southbank Centre along the river to inspire me. I rarely venture out when it’s too busy and prefer going to the bigger galleries at quiet times, and spending the rest of the time finding the quirky pop up smaller galleries. I love finding all the hidden spots and strolling along the Thames beach to clear my mind.

What do you like most about being an artist?

There is so much I love – the moment of a new idea being born, creating new work, being inspred, seeing a sculpture in a gallery when it’s finished. But I think really, the fact that we get to do the thing we are most passionate about, is the best (and slightly smug) part of being an artist – we are very lucky in that respect.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

I proudly exhibited this spring in the Serpentine Gallery’s project space, and I have also had work shown at Tate Modern and sponsored by Tate Britain.

What are your plans for the coming year?

I’m looking forward to my third show in LA this year, as I’ve been selected by OCCCA Museum’s curator Joella March to be part of a group show for text-based artists in Airom Bleicher Gallery, La Brea. I am working on more of my date-stamp drawings and a new body of work which is more sculptural in form. I have also been asked to write for several art magazines so the creative process and my inspirations will all be immortalised in words!

Confidential heart, Nicola Anthony, 2012


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