Angela’s sense of humor is really what led me to her work….indeed, it is what she is doing (resourceful, reinventing of art) but it is also, and maybe even more so, how she is doing it. Her sensibilities as an artist set her apart. I guess the ghosts help too.
Your CV says you graduated from The University of Florida in 1999 - are you from there? Where do you live now?
I am! Born in Tampa actually but Gainesville, where University of Florida is located, has become an important town for me; living there off and on through the years between big cities. I currently reside in Baltimore, MD but am aiming to call Manhattan home again this coming year.
What is your studio space like? Under what circumstances or conditions do you prefer to work?
One thing I notice is a bit different about how I work is it's always in silence! I mean I often sing or talk to myself (or the canvas itself!) but I'm never pressing play on anything. The few times I have played music it's always wordless and generally youtube collections of music you'd expect to hear playing when you get a massage.
Other than that I sit on the floor and paint cross-legged a lot, turning the canvas around on my thighs and knees. And for the little ones I have a desk piled high with found photos and images awaiting transformation. For the larger works, well, I'm hoping to get back there 2019 so I'll let you know!
When did ghosts, aliens, witches and flowers with faces become a thing for you? Have you traced this fascination back to your childhood?
It's a little odd as I'm not particularly interested in "real" ghosts or ghost stories much but I just love the image of them in the Halloween way. The simplicity there. In my painting of ghosts, these beings represent our yesterdays, our moments passed, the things and feelings and images we carry with us. Ghosts of ourselves.
I can definitely trace back my adoration of witches to a young age! I think like many others out there The Wizard of Oz struck a strong aesthetic chord with me. I've always loved the villains in stories. Smaug the dragon, well I wish he was my best friend honestly. And again with the witch - that simple almost childlike interpretation with the green skin and hook nose. Brilliant in its simplicity. Even though I was drawn to them I was terrified of one flying in my window so at about age seven I wrote something called "The Witch Manifesto" which was a plea for said witch to unburden her heart and join the sunnier side of things. Ha!
Flowers are going to be the focus of art and fashion forever and ever I think. Nature is the true artist - no pigment can come close to the vibrancy of those colors!! And the temporal nature of cut flowers; at once so beautiful and yet so fleeting and perhaps even brutal, well I love to put eyes and mouths to them so they can convey any mood, any sass, any grumbling wisdom to mankind.
Of all of your themes, which seems to be the most popular? Do you know why?
The Ghost Photographs, for sure. I think because there's no real subject to focus on - rather just a veil of a person, a feeling, room for one to jump in. They feel nostalgic to the viewer. All the snapshots I paint on are in color and can almost feel as if they were from one's own summer vacation - Which could very well be actually! Though I haven't yet had anyone write to me that the photo was one of their family, I did have a photo of a cat on a velvet sofa I bought on eBay turn out to be my friend's cat on my friend's sofa from a decade earlier out west.
How has your work evolved since you've been drawing and painting? Do you find that your work has matured over the years?
Well I took a strange hiatus from painting for just about ten years while I was a had an unexpected career as a fashion designer in New York City. When I came back to my studio practice, my work erupted onto large canvases - hooded figures in gold, thieves for good, strange amorphous beings taking shelter in one another.
Then when I left New York I found myself moving around a lot, hence starting to work on photographs - portability and scale were key! From there this interesting progression took me through all these bodies of work. Small yet mighty; less technical than my canvas work but taught me so much about painting and conveying emotion through its restrictions. The slight arc of an eye, the opacity of the paint, how these things could change what would be felt. Especially with the flowers each found image becomes a blueprint for a surprise. My own mood or the one the starting image radiates toward me. And my greatest love for these small works has been being able to offer more affordable art to collectors that are at the beginning of their journey!
I have yet to strike it rich so I really appreciate when I am able to buy something from someone I've been admiring for awhile. Buying art is the best feeling in the world. I love seeing what people make - that leap from mind to the physical. Remarkable really, lest we forget.
If you could see your work hanging on any wall in the world, where would that be?
Serpentine Gallery in London! The most magical of spots.
courtesy ANGELA DEANE
interview ASHLEY MUNNS
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