It seems the pull of Perth, and in particular Fremantle, was too strong for much admired artist Anya Brock to ignore, as she recently moved back home after almost three years in Sydney.
Known for her bold hues and pop images, Anya’s 35,000+ instagram following, and many unassuming others walking the streets appreciating her murals, have admired pieces that have traditionally taken the form of animals, geometric patterns and women’s faces.
Supported by extensive research of the abstract expressionists of 1950s America, Anya Brock’s ‘Detached Perspective’ references the objectivity exercised in the viewpoint of one’s existence so as to keep from drowning in the emptiness, and to remain active and present in day-to-day living.
The emotive mark making is physically executed with brooms, mops, hands and pouring and scaping of paint – techniques handed down by Australian artist John Greeuw while Anya studied at Fashion and Textiles at Central Tafe.
Detached Perspective is currently exhibiting until March 27 at PS Art Space, Fremantle.
You recently moved back to Perth. How long were you in Sydney for, and what pushed the move home?
I moved to Sydney May 2013, but got booked for a heap of jobs in Perth when I left so I would come back every couple of months anyway. My husband and I just craved the community and lifestyle of Fremantle. It’s where a lot of our friends are and I found after a couple of years in Sydney that the quietness of Fremantle totally supports my painting practice. Sydney just felt too busy to paint in. GREAT for motivation and building a brand, but I crave the quiet.
Your latest exhibition, ‘Detached Perspective’, shows a move away from your traditional style of bold, bright colours and specific subjects. What was the inspiration behind this?
I’ve always wanted to paint abstract work – it’s what I collect and what I feel moved by. So I think the clarity of moving back to Fremantle and realising what really matters brought about a strong push for abstraction. I just needed a few years to find my mark.
Starting out as a fashion designer before turning to art, was this career path always somewhere in the back of your mind?
Not really honestly. Sadly, I think that age-old saying that art doesn’t make you money probably swayed me a bit. But more than anything I really loved making clothes – so I did that. It wasn’t until I realised that I wasn’t happy within the fashion industry and that painting made me feel like a full person that I started painting canvases. But even then I found my way into it through fashion illustration.
What is your favourite material/technique to work with?
Right now I’m enjoying watered down acrylic.
Your biggest career moment?
I guess this depends on if we’re talking brand moment or artist moment. The Mambo collaboration recently was received well and I think elevated my brand nationally, but this latest exhibition is probably the most fulfilling thing I’ve done in a while.
Who/what are your top influencers?
I feel like this changes with the new people/things I discover – also there are visual influencers and philosophical influencers. The grounding message that I keep coming back to is to concentrate on the work and the process rather than the outcome. Anyone who maintains this mindset throughout their career inspires me endlessly and gives me confidence to just do what feels right as opposed to what is a good career move.
If you could collaborate with anyone on any type of project, who would it be?
Honestly I feel like I have to fight to get more time alone in my studio. Plus I’ve realised that I like to create on my own. I love the ideas phase and generating that energy with someone else, but too much human contact exhausts me and I find I lose my equilibrium, so working alone is my way of getting things straight in my head and gut.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
I think business wise – always have an agreement in place with anyone you’re planning on working with and never complain, never explain.
In creating – stay focused on the work and the process.
Where can people in Perth see your work?
I have a permanent gallery in the MANY 6160 building (old Myer building) in Fremantle that stocks paintings, prints and our product range, and I have the Detached Perspective exhibition at PSAS in Fremantle (where my studio is) until the 27th March.
I also have quite a few murals around the city – until my new website is built the best place to view these are the Streets of Perth website.
What are your plans for the rest of 2016?
Immediately I’m painting a mural for Live Walls in Parramatta on the 21st March, then painting the windows of the Oroton store in Claremont for the PLATFORM festival by FORM on the 23rd March. I’m also painting an underpass in Claremont on the Easter weekend.
After that I go to LA where I’ll hopefully paint a few walls.
The rest of the year will be painting new work for my galleries and prepping for a show in the Sydney gallery later in the year, plus some product collabs.