“Observing Observing (a white cup): Anne Petty”

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #15: Anne Petty

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

My first instinct was to stick a figure into the paintings, as that is my usual subject matter, however I don’t often paint still life’s, so I thought I’d take this as an opportunity to do so. The cup I used is ceramic and reflective. I wanted to use that quality and set the cup next to images I like—one being a postcard of a Picasso painting and another a book with a painting by de Kooning on the cover. It was an excuse to revisit other people’s paintings I admire.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

In addition to my studio work, I work part time teaching painting and drawing at Gage Academy in Seattle and nanny during the afternoons during the week. I like the balance each job offers.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I’ve been making art of some kind since I was young, but it wasn’t until I completed all of my schooling that I felt comfortable introducing myself as an artist.

4. What are your influences?

While I find inspiration all over, my biggest influences are people—their gestures, form, idiosyncrasies, and psychology are all incredibly interesting to me. People watching is one of my favorite activities. Like most artists, I also look at and am influenced by others people’s paintings. Artists such as Lucian Freud, Goya, de Kooning, Paula Rego, Ann Gale, and Kyle Staver are some of my particular favorites, although the list is long. I also look to film and photography, in particular directors and photographers like Hitchcock, Garry Winogrand, and Cindy Sherman.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

My studio is about 110 sq. feet. I just moved studios this past week and am still settling into the new space and getting organized. I do have natural lighting, but also lights with both warm and cool bulbs to get a nice temperature balance and for consistency. Having lighting I can control is essential.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

I tend to do the bulk of my painting in the morning and early afternoon. When I first arrive I will assess where I’m at in a painting through writing, drawing or just looking. I think better with silence, so I’ll hold off on music or podcasts until I get into a painting groove. When I first start working, it’s also the time where I will take care of any research needs for the day (look through images I’ve taken, find interesting film stills or images online, study other artists’ paintings, etc.). After that, the rest of my time is ideally spent painting, often while listening to music or a podcast.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I do most of my work in oils, but I also watercolor and draw. I feel best when I have several paintings going at once, usually all examining a similar idea or concept. I find it helps to take some of the pressure away from an individual piece and as a result I am better at taking risks.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

I’m fairly straight forward with my materials, so no, nothing out of the ordinary.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I like to spend time biking, traveling, and trying new food with my husband, Sean (ideally all combined into one event). I also am an avid reader and always carry a book with me.

3 thoughts on ““Observing Observing (a white cup): Anne Petty”

  1. I enjoyed this interview to learn more about you and your work. Sean is my late husband’s grandson and of course during our marriage of 8 years before his death, his family was very important to me. We visited annually and it was a thrill to see how the children progressed, and even now I admire them for their successful adult lives.


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