Introducing the first artist in this new series of Spotlight Artist! Anja Huddart is based in London and has a very active Instagram showcasing her art: @anja_inthemaking. Having seen her varied and beautiful aesthetic, our co-director Bea got in contact with her and asked her if we could feature her on our own account and if she could answer some questions about her style and life as an artist. These are Anja’s thoughts on the questions we sent:
1- In case our readers don’t have/follow us on Instagram, could you please give a little introduction of who you are and what you’re up to at the minute?
I’m currently a first year student on the BA Costume for Theatre and Screen course at Wimbledon College of Arts, UAL. In school, my favourite subjects were Art, Textiles, Photography and English Literature – so a lot of the references in my work come from books or great art masters. What’s fun to me now is transitioning from a flat canvas to one on the body, and layering my ideas with those of the director / designer.
2- How would you describe your art?
I think a lot of my art comes from the common yearning to do something bold and unexplored, which often amasses itself into multimedia work. I like to play with colour first and foremost, and from there figure out the high and low points of interest in the image, where to place the texture and what should fall to the back. But I always have an itching to bring something out of the frame, to make it tangible and ‘real’, so in my downtime I like to experiment with small canvasses on which I layer scrap fabric from my collection to create fabric palettes for personal inspiration, like a sketch but in material form. They help ground me before I try for something larger.
My newest pieces are all topics that have been widely explored before; politics, the female nude and the depiction of women in the art-world. While the subject is fairly simple and therefore easily understood, a lot of my thinking, as a woman looking at women, is figuring out how different my view is from the ‘Male Gaze’ that has come before. The nude has become somewhat controversial, with fewer men seen stripped down in the paintings in galleries, the equality of nakedness out of balance. Yet to me it is a new area to explore, born from intimate sittings with a model, the act of looking before pencil touches paper burning in anticipation.
3- What drives you to create? What or who inspires you?
My motivation has always been to have a go at all techniques and see how I can combine and layer them to create new meanings and ways of looking. I don’t think you can ever exhaust these topics. Nature rules all – plants, flowers, organic contrasts in colour or texture that I happen upon. I also used to do ballet, so the way the body moves by itself and within a certain space is also something I find enchanting. Off the top of my head, the artists that I love include: Guerilla Girls, Tracy Emin, Yayoi Kusama, Louise Bourgeois, Anselm Kiefer, Giacometti, Francis Bacon, David Hockney, and Sir Howard Hodgkin.
4- Do you have a few stellar Instagram accounts you would recommend?
I love to see an artist’s process, so that’s often what I seek out on Instagram.
@emily_jeffords is absolutely terrific, as are @_hiedra_ @ryhew @andrew.salgado.art @ineslongevial @emmacutrie . The list could easily keep going!
5- Do you feel your art has a trajectory and do you think it needs one?
I think my art will naturally develop as my position and ability to find time for art changes. For now, its personal, and a challenge to myself to stimulate new ideas from my experiences. Artists are born narcissists, but that’s also what people are interested in! I would love for my art to mature into something more serious, and I think keeping a future goal of some kind is important for self-belief, but what will happen next is a mystery to us all.
6- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given to do with your art?
Not to doubt my instincts, and to remember to take a step back often so I don’t get caught in the corner ignoring the rest of the canvas.
Thank you! xxx