Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Annavittoria the Amazing

Annavittoria at Spiderweb Salon's New Year Show
This article was originally written for a blog I have been writing for occasionally of late, but to my discouragement it appeared online today quite over-edited. I wanted the original article to be available to those interested in reading it. Anna -as an artist and a human being- is a true inspiration and local gem, and I am happy that I was able to begin to know her through the magic that is Spiderweb Salon and with the help of this interview!

Anna's art displayed at Spiderweb Salon

Meet Annavittoria Conner. You can call her Anna. She is an artist. Her collages are featured in her online Etsy store and have been spotted in art zines such as Raw Paw (Austin, TX) and galleries around Denton, most recently Spiderweb Salon’s New Year Showcase and 35 Denton Presents: Spiderweb Salon at Dan's Silverleaf.

What’s so cool about Anna? Besides her stunning artwork, maybe it’s her bright personality and excited outlook on life. Maybe it’s her passion for local businesses and affordable artwork. Or maybe it’s that she’s fluent in Italian and participates in extreme sports. Anna may have a lot of wild stories to share but she’s an incredibly easy person to relate to. She’s been a Dentonite since early childhood. She followed her parents’ footsteps to the classrooms of UNT, where she studies Interior Design. She’s on the prowl for new ways to share her passions, ideas, and her art with others.

One visit to Anna’s meticulously organized studio says a lot about this gal. She claims to dabble in everything and master nothing, but her collages are the products of great care and experience. She pours me a glass of wine and we flip through the old school books she snips pictures from. I gaze at the eclectic array of artwork covering the walls as she describes to me her dream art-project, an idea that actually came to her in a dream: a collection of tiny terrariums, each depicting a powerful and unexpected moment in someone’s life: a man in a diving bell lost in the jungle, adolescents embracing in a forest, and so on.

Anna is fascinated by America’s obsession with hamburgers, and fast food comes up a lot in her work. On the walls of her bedroom hang her own oil paintings of brightly-colored hamburgers: one seems to have grown human legs, the other is the body of a sea turtle. She’s in the process of planning her next artistic undertaking: 3-D fabric collages. On the docket to be created is a hand-sewn sculpture of a giant hamburger (“as tall as a small man”), bursting at the buns with odd items, and a life-sized nude elderly couple, amorously involved.

Following a disastrous internship with MTV, Anna switched her major from Radio TV and Film to Interior Design, and looks forward to perusing this as a career alongside her art. Of course, selling enough pieces to live off of would be ideal, but Anna feels strongly in providing art that is realistically affordable and accessible. She lives up to her philosophy. Take the tiny, handmade artist cards, for example, that she freely passes out at shows, and the incredible little collage she gifted me with upon leaving our interview. Having friends who are also artists encourages her to share her art and ideas with others. She loves when she is able to purchase her peers’ work and allow them to do the same. “We’re all artists and we’re all trying to work for the same thing, and it’s really nice each other and buy things and have a collection, and maybe when you’re eighty one day, that person is famous and it’s worth a [lot] of money, you know, or not and you just have an amazing memory of when you were younger.”

The most expensive item in Anna’s Etsy store, “PICKLEDPUNX”, is $150.00, to compensate for its difficulty to part with. Each of her pieces are one-of-a-kind originals; nothing is reproduced, and she is willing to work on commissioned pieces. Her desk is currently covered in tiny pictures of dogs, soon to be constructed into an advertisement for a pet groomer. To make her collages, Anna scours thrift shops and antique stores for hours, on the hunt for old illustrated books. She goes through piles of razor blades, carefully cutting out the pieces of her composite work. She keeps her projects scrupulously organized in folders, drawers, and trays around her studio.

original artwork Anna made for her boyfriend
One of Anna’s greatest struggles as an artist is what she calls involuntary dry spells. “With school and with work and everything, sometimes I don’t have the time...It’s the worst, because I just have all these ideas and I feel like I’m losing them and forgetting them and they’re disintegrating into my mind, you know, leaving my body.” I enthusiastically agree; I think this feeling tends to be universal among twenty-first century twenty-something artists and writers. Anna offered some great advice to fellow creatives who struggle with dry spells: “Sometimes I turn it into the most amazing experience.” She describes how, inspired by a song-writing project launched by her boyfriend, she pushes herself to create at maximum capacity for a very short amount of time. She does this especially when she feels uninspired. “I try to knock out ten pieces in twelve hours.” One of the pieces she created during this exercise, “Red Cross Wishes for Vacation,” ended up being a favorite. She’s even been contacted to use it as a T-shirt design.

If you can’t find her in Denton, Anna’s probably at one of the skate parks in Lewisville or Allen, grinding poles with her BMX bike, endearingly christened Princess Diana. (You can tell she means business by the banged-up bike tattooed on her left shin.) She also works closely with UNT’s Italian Club, hosting occasional Italian-language movie nights in her home. Keep a lookout for her work involved with more Spiderweb Salon projects and other galleries in the area.

Monday, March 18, 2013

ambient bee word

This is one of my first adventures into Ableton Live. I would not say it is good... not by a long shot. But I think it is just as important to document the beginning of creative journeys just as one would the rest of the process, so here it is. It was composed last spring, and I am only just now becoming re-inspired to delve into Ableton again. I have been inspired by Bluebear, of course, but also other electronic projects that have interested me of late, including the newest Efterklang and Mouse on Mars as well as Summer of Glaciers. The upcoming Spiderweb Salon event has me stoked as well! I may play this very short piece during an intermission or something... we will see...

Edit: For the record, I also learned Nowhere Man on guitar today too. So there's that.