Framed Interview: The Bright & Beautiful World Of Anya Brock
A Perth-based artists you'll very likely recognise.
Interview by Dave Gardiner.
Perth/Sydney artist Anya Brock has become iconic across the Australian art scene for her portraiture, geometric designs and use of of bold hues. If you’ve ever wandered around Perth or Fremantle, you’ve seen her vibrant work giving life to formally dreary areas, with her rich use of colour on her signature designs of animals, smouldering female portraiture and gorgeous flora. We got a chance to pick her brain in a cherished piece of brief downtime:
34, female, South Fremantle.
Where are you now? What are your immediate surroundings?
I’m in my home in South Freo with my four-month old baby Harry. We have a big open kitchen/dining area so we pretty much spend most of our time here or on the back deck/lawn.
Please describe a typical day:
My typical day now is vastly different from 12 months ago! I usually get up between 6-7:30 depending on who gets the sleep in. Then I hang out with Harry - feed him etc etc till he goes down for a sleep. And that’s when shit gets done. I usually paint or do admin, research or experiment when he’s sleeping so I can hang out with him and go for walks when he’s awake. Mind you he’s pretty good at hanging in my studio and watching me paint. He has around four sleeps a day so it’s pretty much rinse, repeat of that routine x 4.
What mediums do you use?
Mostly acrylic and charcoal but occasionally I dabble in ink and chalks.
Is there a particular time or place in your life that seems to generate a lot of your ideas?
Not particularly - definitely not literally. I think my ideas are born more from change and adapting to new circumstances. I like parameters so each new situation presents a new challenge and rules by which pieces are shaped. I find using boundaries as catalysts more constructive and progressive than referencing one place and time.
Who/what inspires you and your work the most?
Visually, I look a lot at Brett Whiteley’s work and I studied the work of Robert Motherwell and Franz Kline at TAFE – which I keep coming back to. Process-wise I’m fascinated by the psychology and thought processes that are explored when creating something, and how that series of thoughts correlate to your everyday life and your opinion of yourself. For want of a better term I guess it would be called Art Therapy - but all art is therapy so I don’t know if I believe in that term anyway.
What have you been listening to lately and do you listen to music while you work?
Yeah I listen to music, podcasts and TV. Lately I’ve been listening to Lemonade (because I seem to cotton on to things about a year after everyone else), Syd and Rihanna. I also quite like an Alain de Botton podcast binge, and I generally listen to TV series I’ve seen a million times so I’m not too distracted; LOVE, The Fall, Arrested Development, Suits, The Code, Girls, Broad City, True Detective (Season 1 ONLY - obviously), etc etc.
What was the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Wow tough to narrow it down to just one, as there’s been many words of wisdom pertaining to both the creative and business sides of what I do. Maybe it was from my parents when I was very young - they told me I could be whatever I wanted to be.
Three artists/illustrators/creatives we should check out?
Right now I’m loving Tom Blanchford’s Midnight Modern work, Dina Broadhurst and Den Holm.
What are your favourite and the best things to do in the city/cities that you live in?
Hmmm I’m a total homebody and a person of simple pleasures, so as smug as it sounds I actually really like walking around the little streets of South Freo with Harry taking photos (I take the photos, Harry just lies there). Or I just go to friend’s houses for dinner and have people over. I don’t even know what to write here to sound like someone who does cool things.