Who ART You? 16

Annie paints so vividly I almost feel I’m there. Hope you are as inspired by her art as I am!

 Annie Wildey



How did you grow up?
I grew up in Wolverhampton, a small industrial town right in the middle of the UK, It’s about as far away from the sea as you can get. As a child I often dreamed of living by the seaside!

Looking back I’d say we were quite poor financially, but we weren’t short on love laughter and kindness!. I grew up in a working class family, and I’m the youngest of 4 children. My mom worked part-time in the evenings cleaning hospitals, and my dad was a truck driver. No one in the family was artistic or really appreciated the arts,  so I was a bit of an anomaly. There was an age gap between my siblings and me, so I spent a lot of time entertaining myself with drawing and coloring books. So much so that neighbors would give my mom any spare coloring or sketchbooks they would find lying around the house!

I became an artist because……
It’s really who I am and what I’m good at. I feel at peace when I am making art, I feel connected and in the flow. When I don’t create, I feel anxious, and out of sorts.

What brought you to art?
My high school art teacher noticed my natural ability and knew to nurture it and encourage me. Exposing me to the possibilities and opportunities available in the arts.  It really was the only thing I excelled at, so I’m thankful for his guidance in those formative years.  We have remained life long friends some 30 years later!

While I did go to art school, I ended up on another career path, working for many years in marketing for the British Government in New York. Art was very much a part-time activity during that time, but one that I increasingly needed to do more and more of.  It wasn’t until I was 40 that I took a big leap of faith to pursue art full-time. 

Describe your favorite art piece that you had trouble letting go.
On the whole I’m not precious about my own work, and I’m happy to let it go out into the world. That said there have been a few favorites over the years.  There is usually one in every series, or one that marks a significant shift in direction.  One piece in particular that I hesitated to let go of actually found it’s way back in to the studio after two years! While I was surprised it didn’t sell, I was secretly thrilled by its return and it is one I’ll keep in my own collection. 

If you could come back and live as any artist, (alive or dead) who would it be & why?
Ohh hard to choose!, while I’d love to jump back to New York city in the 50’s and 60’s or France in the 18/1900’s, I’m gonna pick a contemporary painter Jenny Saville.  Her large-scale gestural figurative paintings are amazing and I would love to have an insider’s view of her studio practice and career.

Who, what influences your art?
First and foremost I’d say it’s an emotional connection or response to something that makes me want to capture or convey that creatively.

What has art taught you?  
To be an observer of my inner and outer world, be still, look, listen, feel.
Embrace the process, enjoy and welcome little accidents.
Let go of expectations, and go with the flow.
Enjoy my own company ;-)

Favorite/best resources as an artist?
Anything that supports and nurtures my creative life is essential. I love listening to creative podcasts, and value a community of other artists, virtual or in person.  I would also add that I worked with a creative life coach for many years. This helped me make the transition from a career in business to fine art.

What becomes a magical instrument in your hands?
Hmmm, I think the magic happens in the space between control and freedom, so I’m always open to finding new ways to make marks, but I do love a nice palette knife to work with.

What medium do you use? Why?
I enjoy working in many mediums, but right now I spend most of my time working in oils, I love the buttery quality of paint, pushing and pulling it around a canvas. As a printmaker I also love the spontaneity and directness of monotype.  I find both mediums provide an opportunity to explore and expand my technical vocabulary. Switching between disciplines keeps things fresh. This year I want to get back to life drawing for pleasure.

What is your favorite subject matter?
This question is very much connected to an earlier one “what influences your art’ I think as artists we have themes or content that we explore through our subject matter. I’m very much interested in light, movement, and emotion that I currently explore through landscape /seascape.

What are you still hoping to learn?
Apart from continuing to learn and experiment creatively, as artists we are entrepreneurs and small business owners, so I’m always looking to be better at “the business of being an artist”

When I think of art, I ………….
Feel alive.

How do life, business, creativity and art intersect?
Oh boy, as a full-time artist everything is interconnected, the challenge I have is making sure there is balance!

A defining moment in my life was when………..
I decided to walk away from an 18-year career, at 40 to pursue an MFA.  It was a huge decision for me. I don’t love change and I crave security. I knew I needed support so I sought out a creative coach to help me navigate the journey.  The desire was there but so was fear.  Fortunately things began to fall into place, I was definitely in the flow and it became abundantly clear which path I should take. And here I am!

Best advice I ever got about art or being an artist was……..
If you paint what moves you, chances are others will be moved by it too.   
2.    Show up, do the work.
3.    Build a collection of your own work by keeping one or two pieces from each body of work. You never know when that museum retrospective might happen – ha ha, I should be so lucky ;-)
4.    Manage your money well.

Do you have a ritual or practice any creative activities before you make art? If so, what is it?
I don’t have a ritual as such, other than needing a couple cups of coffee to get me going in the morning. But I know mornings are the best time for me to be creative.  There is something about knowing I have the whole day ahead of me.

Is there a quote that inspires you or that you try to live your life by?
There are so many! but this one I think captures the blissful creative moment that I think many of us hope to tap into when we walk into the studio.“Art is standing with one hand extended into the universe and one hand extended into the world, and letting ourselves be a conduit for passing energy” Albert Einstein
I like to think of it as getting out of my own way!

Is there anything new you are planning to introduce in the future?
I’m currently working on a very large commission along with a new body of work for two upcoming shows. I also plan to release new prints and small works online throughout the year. 

Name: Annie Wildey
Website:  anniewildey.com
IG:  anniewildey
FB: anniewildeystudio

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