We would love to introduce Anna Church, who is one of the most recent artists to join Sugarlift's vibrant community. Getting to know Anna we learned that she is both an artist and a mom, a sculptor and a photographer ("Sculptographer!"), and creates images that are both beautiful and deeply layered in meaning.
Read about our catch up with the Kiwi-turned-Toronto native and check out her work available at Sugarlift!
LIVES & WORKS IN Toronto, Canada
ON THE CLOCK My mornings turn into my afternoons pretty quickly! I work out (before the kiddos rise), make breakfast, do the school drop off, get some desk time in, reply to emails, post on social media and package orders. Then it’s time for the school pick up! After that, the kiddos either have music, soccer, or swimming. We have a family dinner and then it’s bath & bed time (for them). After they’re asleep it’s my admin time (very occasionally I get some Netflix time!) and then, bed time for me (anywhere between 10.30pm and midnight). At least twice a week, I set time aside to experiment or work on a new sculpture or idea / concept. I also like to dedicate time photographing my art in-situ (which involves styling / staging a scene), which is another passion of mine! Basically my days are a perpetual balancing act between my passions, work and being a mom.
YOUR ART WEEKEND Outside of play dates, ice skating, tobogganing or skiing, I sometimes have the chance to venture out on the weekend on my own. I utilize these moments to my advantage and try to pop into as many art galleries and boutique stores (on the West side of town) as possible. I look for inspiration in everything, on these little journeys!
ALBUM The Whitest Boy Alive
FILM Hunt for the Wilderpeople (A ‘Kiwi’ film which made me homesick and nostalgic for New Zealand).
ARTIST Alma Haser
BOOK The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Palin (only a few pages into it!)
EATS Any meal intentionally booked away from our own kitchen! Restaurants make for great breaks and dates. Although my husband is a fabulous cook, so staying in can also be counted as a treat if I’m not the one making dinner!
LATEST PURCHASE An architect! Well their expertise…home renos are in the pipeline!
GUILTY PLEASURE Antique flea market shopping on my lonesome
GRADE IN ART CLASS A
36 HOURS A long weekend in New York or spent at home with friends and family.
‘Sculptography’ is a cool concept-- can you let us know how you developed this idea and how it impacts you work?
The word ‘Sculptography’ was coined by a very clever friend trying to find a way to describe what exactly it is that I do. It’s a short and clever abbreviation for someone who combines both sculpture and a photography.
My sculptures are not made to be preserved. In fact, each and every one of them gets disassembled after its been photographed. I create a least 2 series a year which consist of 3-5 individual sculptures. The process from inception through to assembly/construction can take several months. Once I’m in the zone and I have made the time to commit to the project, basically nothing else gets in my way or any attention for several weeks (other than my family!) Then, when I feel they are at a point where they are photographable, I lock myself away in my studio for another few days and set to work capturing the sculpture through the lens of my camera. The fact that they’re disassembled speaks to another concept close to my heart; ‘Interior Environmentalism’. Aside from a love and integration of plants into décor and design, I believe in vintage finds and upcycling. Photographing sculptures that are often made from found objects speaks to these values. As does breaking them down once the fine art images are captured!
We love your new Blurred Lines series -- they remind us of a Dutch still life painting, but with a very contemporary twist. What were some of your influences for this work?
Oh, I love hearing this interpretation. There were several influences that were melted down and were threaded together for the final concept to bloom (pun intended!) I studied many flower breeds, and created my own fanciful breeds based on my research and inspiration found from Japanese wallpaper illustrations. When I embark on a new series I like to explore a current social commentary and turn this into a sculptural form.
Blurred Lines is based around what we visually are drawn to through social media and advertising, and sometimes even though we know its message and beauty is false or manipulated, but we are still willing to suspend our disbelief.
I also like my art to be aesthetically pleasing and livable. The floral language is ultimately a positive one, traditionally welcomed throughout many eras and cultures. In Victorian England for example, gifts of blooms, plants and specific floral arrangements revealed coded messages to the recipient, often allowing a sender to communicate unspoken feelings. I was inspired by this rich history and how floral make us feel and applied this psychology to interpret a modern social commentary; how do we communicate and how are we communicated to? Theorizing; if what we perceive through social media is real, and beautiful; do we care if it’s artfully staged or deliberate in it’s messaging? Do we bother to seek out a hidden meaning? Be it a disguised aspirational message or a deliberate advertisement? Are we willing to suspend disbelief? The juxtaposition of soft florals with the stark color theory, as well as the fact that this entire series is composed of fake blooms is a deliberate variant on the floriography theme.
Another significant point of inspiration and symbolism for Blurred Lines was Hermann Rorschach’s inkblot tests. Upon first inspection, you might just see the beautiful arrangement. However, if you look closer, there’s an unsymmetrical mirror version; it’s blurred self. This deliberate variant is designed to trick your eyes and hopefully spur the viewer to analyze the difference between what you visually perceive and what your mind understands. Much like during a Rorschach assessment, the image may be rotated and interpreted using a variety of factors; and is also largely dependent on the affect state of mind of the viewer.
So there are quite a few layers! But ultimately, Blurred Lines is a floral arrangement at it’s core and it’s been a pleasure to hear people’s interpretations and reactions.