Artist Anna Cei - My Artist Statement / Bio
Hi, I'm artist Anna Cei. Today I'm going to talk about my bio, my artist statement. Instead of writing it down in a formal way, I was thinking it's better, as an artist to show you instead of telling, instead of writing about it. So I will answer some common questions that I've gotten. And I hope that this will help for you to understand me and my art a little better.
The first question I often get is: Where do you get your ideas from? Or where do you find your inspiration?
Because most of my art is not realistic, it's quite abstract, or imaginary, so the thing with my inspiration is that it comes in a few different ways. First of all, I want to tell you that I'm very happy, because ever since the cellphones came around, I could make it very easy to snap pictures. Because I observe. I see images in the sky. I see an interesting flower, or roots in a tree, or patterns. Or look at all the veggies in the grocery store, or the fruits in the market. You know, I see very interesting images all around me. And I think that all these images, and ideas, get stored somewhere in my brain.
Sometimes it's also really direct, I see something and it immediately sparks an idea, gives me ideas, and I want to create something right away from what I saw. For example, I saw these curtains in a window. I saw that shape, can you see it?
And it was so fascinating to me, the way the curtain folded. So I said to myself, ah, I want to use that shape. Meaning, I don't want to draw exactly the curtains. It's more like something that sparks like, in this case, the shapes, they sparked an idea in my head. Why? I don't know. Sometimes it's less direct.
Other times, I have dreams, or visions, it's almost like dreams. Visions, when I'm awake. I just see images in front of me, it's a little bit like dreams at night. It's just that I also see them during day time, for my quote/unquote "inner eye".
Here for examples are "Sheets in a Dream". This image came to me because that's exactly what I saw. This is not so common. And in a way for me as an artist, I don't find it too interesting. Because it feels a little bit like "paint by numbers". There is an image already created in my head. And now I just have to put it out there. Of course these sheets, or the image of the sheets, is not real. It doesn't work in reality. You can't drape something and create a hole in it. But that's what I saw!
Another example of this is when I draw my square caviars. The "Square Caviar" was the first image that came to me and what I call my "caviar images". I made several of them after this very first one. So this one was because I had a dream. I woke up and I knew I had to paint this. This is what it looked like. And I was supposed to title it "Square Caviar". Yeah, I don't know, but that's how dreams work I suppose. In the dream, there was no embellishments. It was just the square pink, different shades of pink. But then when I actually did it, I added the sparkles and the embellishments.
After this one there were many, many other caviar inspired images like the "Black Caviar", or the "Round Caviar" or "Mondrian's Caviar". Well, there are many of them.
The third way, inspiration, or ideas come to me is probably the most common way and the way I like the best. It's when my hand just do art.
I don't think. I disconnect from all analytical thinking and just let the hand move over the paper. It's quite obvious that many shapes are recurring, and that's been in my art ever since I was a little girl. The paisley shapes and the egg shapes in particular. So when I let my hand just move, very often it ends up being some kind of paisley pattern, or egg shape, or very circular, soft shapes. I don't know where these shapes come from, the paisleys and the eggs, but somehow I think that they are very organic. They're very feminine, and they symbolize "Life" for me in a lot of ways.
Next question I get:
Do you have any formal art education? Yes, already in High School, I took a special program for aesthetics and visual arts. I also took art classes in fine arts and graphic design, computer graphics in college in United States. The third formal art education I have is from Sweden, I took visual arts at a higher education center, and did mostly acrylics and art paintings during those years. And lastly, I took classes at Pratt Art Institute in Seattle, Washington. Over there, I did not just visual arts, I did also glass, and I did metal work. But besides learning art, I've also been teaching art. And I think I have learned a lot from teaching it. I taught Graphic Design, Computer Graphic Design, Web Design, you know, for the user interface. I've also been teaching children as well as grownups in a variety of settings for art. Teaching children, as well as grownups to look at what they see, and don't let their brain trick them into drawing what they think they see. Realistic art, I have done it. I don't really like it so much, but I think it's a good foundation to have to be able to draw what you actually see.
Next question: Do you always go about your art the same way?
I think this question resembles a little bit the first question. So no, I don't, there are these different ways I get inspiration and ideas from, and I also vary my techniques. If I use traditional media, I really, really enjoy drawing with Micron ink pens. They are my favorite fine line art pens. I'm not sponsored by them, by the way, but I love them these Micron pens. Very often I draw something, like the hand just moves as I said before, then I color in with Prismacolor watercolor pencils. And they're like color pencils, except that they're also water soluble. Then I fill in what I have drawn, and then I take a brush and water, and I go over it, and it makes it like watercolor. Once that has dried, I put on white gel pen. And lastly, I embellish it with sparkles and beads. Of course, that's traditional media. When I work digitally, it's very similar in a way I kind of do patterns and, and forms and shapes, and then I color it in. The method kind of is the same, even if it's digital. For me at least that's how I work. But again, it depends a little bit of what I'm doing. If I'm doing something extremely realistic and really paint from something, which I don't do often, then I use a little bit different method.
Also, many have asked me what my favorite medium is. Well, bottom line is: I love to create. And very often it's out of convenience, I travel a lot around the world, so convenience is important. I can nowadays or at least I don't do too much in big canvases because it's kind of difficult to travel with. So a small little watercolor pad, my brushes, my watercolors, they can fit, and I also love to use my iPad. And I work in software such as Procreate, Photoshop, Gimp well, the whole Adobe Suite. But in the past, I have also worked with clay, I have worked with found materials. I like to work both in oil and acrylics. And it kind of differs over time.
I hope, and one of the goals for me here with selling my art like this online, is that I will be able to afford an art studio of my own in the future. I really want to have my own studio where I can do bigger pieces of art as well. And more traditional media because it's really such a cool feeling when you feel what you're working with.
Some people ask me: How long does it take to finish a piece of art?
That is kind of a tricky question. Because sometimes you can start something and maybe you don't work on it on a daily basis. So it's a little bit like a book you read that maybe you return to it. Sometimes you read a book from start to finish in one session. It's a little bit similar with my art. Sometimes I start something and I return to them later, so it's kind of hard to keep track on exactly how many hours it takes. But I can give you an example. This painting here is a digital drawing called "November Thoughts". And this one took me around 300 hours. And that's before like the finishing touch-ups or whatever. And here, "Paisleys from South Dakota" in a little bit similar one. It has an interesting story because this one was actually first made with markers. I sat down with regular children's Crayola markers, and just did a little drawing, a little painting. And then I really loved it and I transferred it digitally. And the digital time spent, is a little bit easier to measure because software like Procreate can actually tell you how long time you have touched the iPad. So that's why I know that paid things like "November Thoughts" and "Paisleys from South Dakota" took me 300 and 200 hours respectively. Sometimes when I do a watercolor painting, it can actually be faster. A lot of people think it's the other way around. But for me at least I work in very high resolution, pixel by pixel, so it takes me a long time to do really good digital artwork. Whereas the traditional media, usually it depends on the size again, but it's more of the technique. So yeah, this is a tricky question. It can be anywhere from 10 hours for something small, up to 300-400 hours for something bigger.
Now the next question is a little bit different. Somebody wants to know, "Do you listen to music when you do art?" Yes, sometimes I do. But most often, it distracts me. When I listen to music it's very often instrumental, because lyrics kind of throws me off my focus. So very often is electronic music of sorts. If I want to be fired up, it could be some techno, or film music. I'm a big fan of epic music. One of my favorites is "Really Slow Motion", that I listen to a lot. Pink Floyd, Mike Oldfield, Jean-Michel Jarre, that kind of music. I do listen to rock music a lot, but not when I do my art. However, I would say 99% of the time I prefer complete silence around me. I even use my headphones to cancel out any noise around me.
Next question, favorite artists? Well, I'm big on layout and design, so Mondrian is a given. I think Chagall has inspired me with colors that I love, the shapes, the magic he did. I also like Klimt. Very reduced color palette, often, but really cool shapes. I like Kusama for all the fun. I think she does an amazing job with very limited methods, if you wish, the dots and the pumpkin shapes. I also like abstract art. I'm a big fan of abstract art. And that's probably why I also do mostly abstract art. I think ...especially super-realism, I think we have cameras for that. Personally. I don't want to do another copy of what reality has already shown me or what we have around us. Plus, I have all these imaginary images in my head and I want it out. So I think abstract artists are inspiring to me. And I actually look at a lot of abstract art, on social media and in reality, because I'm inspired by other artists.
The last question for my little artist bio is: What state of mind is ideal for creating art? Well, I can only talk about myself, I don't think I have one state of mind that is conducive for me. I create art, whether I'm happy or sad, or angry, it doesn't really matter to me. I think all these feelings are important to feel for me when I do art and it gives me variety in the final product. However, I do know that I have used art as a healing tool. Definitely! I have had cancer a couple of times actually. And I've been sickly, most of my life,.. physically sick. And I know that every time when I go through the healing process, art has been there for me. And it kind of makes me focus less on my body and more of the production, the creating something. And I don't know why but I just need to do it every time I've been sick and have these periods of rehabilitation. That's when I get a lot a lot of art out of me. But yes, as I said, for me, I create happy art. I can create sad art, I can create serious images, or whimsical images. There were some examples of that. I hope you learned a little bit about me my art and, and got a few questions answered that you would usually read in a regular artist statement or bio. I hope you enjoyed this video. And now of course, I want you to go and support me in my journey. So I can reach my dreams and continue to create more and more art to "beautify the world" because that's what I really want to do. At the end of the day, I think we all need to have art around us to get us through our days, to fire us up, to heal us, to make us happy and just ..... imagine a world without art or images. No, I can't!! Beautify the world and go and shop on my site. Thank you!