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Anna Wilson has a wonderful way of seeing the world. Her sketchbook works as a record of her daily observations and her travels have allowed her to capture some of the most amazing scenes.
As both an illustrator & photographer, Anna has been able to draw on both practises, and her training as an human geographer, to create a beautiful portfolio of work. In her most recent exhibition 'Cold', she was able to bring work from the two practises together under this theme and showcase them side by side.
Anna has a trip to Iceland planned for next year to further explore the theme 'Cold', so we can't wait to see what she brings back!
Education and background:
I originally trained as a human geographer, and have a PhD in this field and many years of working in university. This sounds a bit obscure, but it is actually just the study of how people relate to the places they live in, how they change them and are changed by them. I love the ideas here but have also always taken photos and drawn and about 1 year ago I decided to give this up for a while and focus entirely on making pictures - both through drawing and photography.
Where are you based?
For the last year I have been based in Castlemaine, in central Victoria. I also work a couple of days a week as a designer for an NGO in Melbourne.
How long have you been a visual artist for?
I have always loved to make pictures, loved the process of distilling our multidimensional lives into just two dimensions, so in some ways I think I have always been a visual artist. However, it is only in the last year, that I would have called myself one.
How do you find working across two different practises – both illustration & photography?
Lots of people ask me this and I think I have felt pressure to choose between these – especially for the purpose of focusing my business. Yet, for me they are so naturally entwined. I think photography helps me create more beautiful illustrations as it has trained my eye to see interesting compositions.
It has given me so much practice at distilling a moment of complicated life into a flat work on paper. And, I think drawing regularly helps me keep seeing the wonder in my immediate world – an attitude that I think is vital for creating interesting photographs. I think these two practices are beautifully connected.
What do you feel is your biggest achievement to date?
This was definitely my first exhibition earlier this year as part of the Castlemaine State Festival. I sold far more work than I ever could have imagined and had such amazing feedback. It increased my confidence markedly and was the first thing in my life I think I have ever been completely proud of something that I had done.
What are your creative influences?
Colour, line and the opportunity to explore a new city. I love muted colours, especially the washed out colours of cold places. I think I love them because they make line more marked. And, I have always loved line.
My previous career gave me the opportunity to travel and some incredibly interesting places and nothing inspires me more than the first weeks of exploring a new city. Fashion, architecture, and gatherings of people are always so vibrant when the place is new. Travel inspires me greatly.
What are your favourite tools of the trade?
My favourite illustration tool is a small sketchbook, a Pelikan fountain pen, a water brush and a tiny mint tin filled with just a few watercolours. Almost all of my sketches are done with just these things and they are small enough to fit in my handbag. I can thus draw anytime, anywhere.
For photography I work with Canon gear – my favourite lens being my trusty 50mm 1.4. For years this was all I had and I think having this limit taught me so much.
How have you found getting started with printing at Image Science?
Everyone at Image Science has been so wonderful. You always take such care with the work and I have got so much joy out of seeing my work printed onto your beautiful paper. You have also been very patient with me when I have set things up incorrectly, thank you!
How has being able to create edition prints from your originals been influential to your business?
It is incredible for me to be able to create such beautiful reproductions. As lots of my favourite illustrations are done on the streets of cities in my tiny sketchbooks, they are very difficult to sell and share with others.
This has made them so much more easily shared – it also creates and affordable art form that I think is really nice.
I am currently in the process of trying to set up a store attached to my website so I have an easy way for people to buy my work. I am also planning an extended trip to Iceland next year to continue to explore the theme of my last exhibition ‘Cold’. I feel like this creates such an interesting way for me to connect my illustrations together with my photography.