I recently caught up with artist Ann Flowers of A Beautiful Party to talk about her work and get a sneak peak into her studio. This is the first studio tour of the year and its a good one. Hope you enjoy the tour..
I’ve been drawing for forever. I found some drawings I did of balloons when I was three. I don’t think my style has changed much since. I started getting serious about it when I was in high school. That’s when I realized art was something I could really do and pursue. Now Im working on my Masters of Fine Arts and still pursing that dream.
My work is always sort of in flux but I would say right now it’s about exploring identity. When I graduate in May it will be the first time in 22 years that I haven’t been a student. I’m using my work as a way of taking inventory of who I’ve been and who I will be next. Phew, three sentences exactly!
You are currently pursuing your masters at Northern Illinois University. Are there any adjustments you have had to make since moving to Illinois from Kentucky?
I’m in the middle of a corn field!! Although I suppose that’s not terribly different from where I was before. The nice thing about living here is that I’m so close to Chicago. I have this amazing city right at my fingertips. I don’t take advantage of it often enough but it’s nice knowing it’s so close. I miss my family and friends though. This is all temporary, I think….
Where is your studio located?
The grad students here have a building that used to be an old factory and is now broken up into studio spaces. The building is located behind a furniture store. It’s very discreet and private and only a little bit creepy. In the past year it’s been really booming with students and is quite a nice place to be. Most of the students have their own rooms and the sizes vary. My first year here I was tucked away in a tiny space that felt like a closet. By the end of the year I nabbed a larger studio. The bigger space has really changed my work, I took more chances and felt freer to move around.
How many hours per week do you spend at your studio?
It really varies. Often it depends on what my school schedule is like but I’m there as often as I can be. I love weekends in the studio. With my thesis show coming up next semester I have a feeling I’ll be in their 24/7. That’s a little exciting, a little bit scary!
What advice do you have for other artists who may be just starting out, or are struggling to be seen?
Last semester I got to teach my own printmaking class for the first time and I really saw how important it was to encourage students to stick it out with art if that’s what they really really love. Sometimes I think you have to forget about the hows and whys and just make art. My rule in my class: Just make good art. I think that’s a rule for life. Just make good art and things will fall into place. Form your own communities with your other art friends. Support your fellow art friends, go to their art shows, tell everyone you know about them. I think that’s the foundation of it all.
Do you have any shows or events coming up that we could check out?
My thesis show! It’s coming up in April so I’ll be focusing on that for now. I’m also going to be in a show in Spartenburg, SC at the Showroom as part of the Hub-Bub Invitational Show. Its in a couple of weeks, wish I could make it there for the opening. If you’re around the area check it out. Tell Claudia Ann sent you.
Thank you Ann for the interview and tour!