Meet the Artist 2018: Anna Dalessandro
Published: 19 June 2018
Anna D’Alessandro is a painter who enjoys working with a range of mediums, predominately working with oils on paper or canvas. She enjoys capturing the beauty in the natural world around her. This is seen in her figurative work which often depict seascapes, local landscapes and islands at sea. Anna is interested in the details of natural forms; often small things. The things that get missed, miscommunicated or unsaid. Gaps and pauses, and the space that exists between these spaces, whether physical or emotional. These are some of the things that inform Anna’s abstract work.
Leading up to Skipton Open Studios, we asked Anna a few questions about her creative process:
How would you describe yourself as an artist?
My work incorporates representational work, such as my seascapes, and work that is more abstract expressionism or gestural. So in the latter the emphasis is spontaneous and unplanned with my interest on the physical act of painting itself whereas my representational work is more planned and structured.
What or who is the inspiration behind your work?
I am inspired by the process of painting itself. The physical act of doing and conveying an emotional response. A lot of my work is a inspired by nature and details of natural forms. In my work I explore how things are communicated and the things that get missed. Gaps and pauses and the spaces that exist between these spaces whether physical or emotional.
How did you first get into art?
Art is natural for all children but maybe I followed this path more keenly as I didn’t think I was very good at the other things I was supposed to be good at. I had a teacher called Miss Scofield who called me her ‘little art expert’. It was very encouraging and she was a good teacher who had all sorts of other experts in the class!
How have you developed your artistic career?
I have been quite tentative about it but ultimately you have to decide that your work is good enough right now or you’ll never do anything. I have taken part in several group exhibitions over the last 2 years and have work at the CCA Summer Exhibition this year. I made the decision to concentrate fully on my painting when my youngest daughter starts school this year so I’m looking forward to that.
What is your favourite part of the creative process?
I love the early beginnings of a painting where marks are going down uninhibited by what is already there. It is like the first snow that falls. You are unsure if it will settle, form part or anything lasting or melt.
What project or artwork are you working on now?
I’m finishing a few seascapes for the Open Studios and I’m starting on some mixed media abstract work on different shaped papers.
How do you think your art has changed since you first started creating?
It is more textured and less clumpy. I am doing more expressive & abstract mark making.
How do you know when a work is finished?
It looks like it’s not yours any more.
What do you wish more people knew about your process, or about your life as a professional artist?
Thats a really difficult question because for me the creative process is a very personal one and I create art because I love the process.
What is the most interesting artwork, exhibition or art event you’ve seen recently?
I loved seeing Frank Auerbach’s ‘Head of E.O.W’ 1955 at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow recently. There was so much to look at. It was so visceral and I was interested in the relationship between E.O.W & Auberbach, who were friends & former lovers.
What’s your favourite place to see art?
Tate Modern after hours!
What was the first piece of art that really mattered to you?
It was a painting that I saw a lot as a child by a British painter called Brian Peacock. I saw it regularly in my neighbours home so I had lots of time to look at it, ask questions and therefore formed a relationship. It was a predominantly white painting in a square format with just suggestions of things that could even of been accidents; for example a slight undulation that could have been waves. It was very minimal and yet there was so much to look at.
What artwork do you wish you owned?
Too hard a question. Not answering! Well, today it would be one of Joan Mitchell’s humongous & emotionally challenging diptychs.
Have you taken part in Skipton Open Studios before?
No. Happy to be taking part for the first time.
What have you been doing so far in preparation for Skipton Open Studios?
I’ve been making the work, deciding on framing or mounting etc, I’ve had meetings with the artists exhibiting with me at Daisy Cottage, I have been doing social media etc and I have bought lots of rather lovely tea cups, glasses and tea pots to serve drinks to all the thirsty people who come to see the open studio!
What is the best thing you’ve enjoyed as part of the recent cultural offering in Jersey?
I love the street art that was been created by local artists. It makes a huge difference to our town centre. It is also fantastic to have the opportunity to view international and local artwork in a beautiful new space at the CCASM Modern & Contemporary.
Why are you based in Jersey and does your location here influence your work? If so, how?
I’m sure that being in Jersey influences my work in ways that I can’t even know about. Of course I paint many seascapes because I am influenced by this magnetic beauty but beauty can be found in many things. It would be interesting to see if I still continued to paint seascapes if the sea was not a continual presence in my life.
What do you find most unique about the Jersey creative scene?
The number of people I keep discovering who are making and creating interesting things.
What is the most important tool in your studio?
I don’t have one important tool. I like to use many. Possibly an easel as I am currently unable to work on the walls.
If I could ‘wave a magic wand’ and grant you one wish that would impact upon your work or life as an artist, what would it be?
A large studio (8m plus) with natural light, high celling, running water, in nature, ideally West, dry and warm! Right now I am in-between studios which has a massive impact on my work.
What image/music keeps you company in the space where you work?
Music is really important to me in the whole of my life and particularly in painting. I get stuck on the same artist or song for periods of time. Right now it’s Matthew & the Atlas, Israel Nash & The Range.
Why should we visit your studio?
You will get to see four different artists with varied work, experience & disciplines and I’ll make you a cup of tea!