After taking a long break from the Creative People in Florence interview series, I am back with my good friend, Creative People in Florence co-founder and partner in crime, the amazing, glorious, whip-smart Anna M. Rose. I meet Anna exactly one year ago and we have been pratically insperable ever since. She is one of those people you feel immediately comfortable with, it was like we had known eachother for years. I am always amazed and inspired by her work and commintment not only to her art pratice, but to our group as well. Anna is the brains behind the Studio Visits Series that was started last year and she also keeps me on my toes in regards to planning events for CPiF. She has been the driving force in getting our little artist community to where it is today! I could have never done it without her! Anna and I have also collaborated on a various projects and have another one in the works. She is always amazing to work with, is filled with passion and wonderful ideas! So here she is!
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I’m a visual artist working across multiple media, with a focus on wearable sculpture, photography and video.
Why did you choose Florence, or did Florence choose you?
I don’t know, but we loved each other instantly. I came here in 2004 for what was meant to be a year, and Florence still hasn’t let me go.
What is your favorite thing/place/sight in the city or all of the above?
I love the park around the Museo Stibbert and the musty armor collection inside, the iris garden and the Roberto Capucci collection at the Villa Bardini, the wax models at La Specola, Donatello’s Mary Magdalene (that hair!) at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, the Brancacci Chapel, the view from Fiesole…
Was there a defining moment when you knew that you wanted to be an artist? If so when and what was it?
I don’t think so.
What or who is your greatest inspiration and why?
I don’t really have an answer. Inspiration comes in so many different forms, doesn’t it? An old friend, a new place, the shred of something you overhear in a crowd. Ideas are out there, you just have to keep an eye out, even years after the fact. For example, I have a very clear memory of going to the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum in Boston as a child. I still remember lingering in front of John Singer Sargent’s El Jaleo—the exaggerated pose, the empty chair. I see all these essential scraps of memory, some more distant than others, as the first traces of my interest in the body, movement, clothing, performance, and space. Inspiration comes from what you notice, what you remember.
What is the best thing about being an artist/creative person? What is the most difficult part?
You never know what’s going to happen. There are exhilarating days when I can’t seem to keep up with the ideas, but more often than not, I spend hours in the studio, overthinking things, making stuff, taking stuff apart. I periodically reach a point where I’m convinced that I’ll never have another idea ever again. On those days I find myself organizing all my tools, untangling my wigs, staring at the wall, just waiting for something to happen. A drawing teacher once set me straight in a moment of doubt (or maybe laziness) by telling me that the only way to learn how to draw is to draw. You simply have to put in the time. I’m constantly relearning this in the studio…the only way to make art is to keep making it.
What message do you hope to convey with your art/creative process?
I think it’s the art’s job, not the artist’s job to tell the viewer what to see. I also don’t think I’m a reliable source ---what I see or intend for a piece today probably won’t be true a year from now.
What is art/design to you? How would you define art?
Has anyone ever successfully answered this question?
*note from the author. There are no right or wrong answers here, that's what make it so interesting!
Do you listen to music when you work? If so who or what?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends on what I’m working on. Right now I’m hand-stitching hair onto a leather aviator cap, and I have the new Sia album on repeat.
If you could go back in time 10 years knowing everything that you know now what would you change and why? Or what would you tell yourself?
Ten years ago I was planning my escape to Italy, and I certainly wouldn’t want to change that. At the time I didn’t think I would stay longer than a year or two, so maybe I’d tell myself to take off the wine-colored glasses a little sooner and start getting my act together.
How have your two cultures affected your work?
This is something I love unraveling. All of that raw material of the everyday, how we communicate with people on the street, what we do when we leave the studio, it’s all in there, churning around with our memories of home, of family, of the things we tried to leave behind. In May of this year I finished low-residency Master of Fine Arts degree in San Francisco, which meant spending the summers there and working here in my studio during the academic year for the past three years. The back-and-forth between the US and Italy has made me much more aware of how the tangling of those two cultures make itself present in my work.
Who is your favorite artist/designer/writer/performer?
I don’t play favorites.
What is your favorite movie?
Ok, I can actually answer this one! I just had a party on my studio where projected short videos that all the guests sent me ahead of time. As I was compiling all the videos into a loop, I threw in clips from the only three movies I keep on my computer, for emergency viewing: Melancholia, Pina, and The Skin I Live In.
What is your favorite book?
My first book love was for The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers.
Describe yourself in five words.
Can I skip this one?
When you’re not being creative what do you do?
I just took a break to take a selfie with my cats…does that count?
If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?
There are lots of places on the list, but I’m going to check one of them off in November when I spend a month in Iceland doing an artist residency.
Is there anything else that you want people to know about you?
If you want to know more, visit my website: www.annamrose.com