We love browsing the internet and stumbling across an artist whose work was previously unknown to us. Enter, Ann Marshall, from Atlanta, Georgia. Ann’s work caught our attention with her fascinating portraits that take on familiar collage elements with an added mix of photography, painting, and drawing.
HAHA MAG: Ann, while I was looking at your work, I couldn’t help but think of Klimt. Is he one of your artistic influences?
Ann Marshall: Klimt is an influence, but one of many. My interest has always been painting individuals, but not necessarily perfectly replicating an entire environment since the camera is far more efficient at this and it’s a far too rigid a goal to be enjoyable (at least for me). I find this style allows me to merge my two interests while tackling the elusiveness of personality and inner worlds. My subjects, like myself, are essentially introverted.
Other influences include Rembrandt, Goya, Holbein, Durer, Memling, Vermeer, and Bellini (all of which are great in sympathetically portraying humanity, in all its complications). I could go on, but this list is getting troublingly random.
HM: I love the fact that you stated your work was somewhat “low tech.” It brings an elegance and clarity to your work.
AM: I enjoy working by hand. While the technology to produce digital work has improved in the last ten years, I still prefer the experience of making things in real space more. It’s messier, less exact and certainly a lot more flaw prone. But in the end, I think handmade works possesses a warmth and humanity that a lot of digital work still lacks. Also, I have a hard time sitting in one position all day. I was in an accident a year ago, and as a result, can become uncomfortable if I have to sit in the same position for hours at a time. Really heavy long term computer use is probably out for me.
HM: While looking at your pieces, I noticed that there were no males used. Is this intentional?
AM: Actually, my boyfriend is in there somewhere, but yes, I mostly paint woman because I think they are more fun to paint.
HM: In terms of art, what moves or inspires you?
AM: I saw a Fra Angelico show at the Met years ago that nearly brought me to tears it was so beautiful. Contemporary Chinese and Japanese work has a vitality that’s hard to beat, and there’s a Brazilian artist Herbert Baglione whose work I’m currently obsessed with. In terms of good figurative composition, comic and graphic novel artists are the best.
HM: While we’re talking about inspiration, you not too long ago took on a very important project. How did you come to illustrate a children’s book on the Holocaust?
AM: I actually went to art school to become a children’s book illustrator and this was my first book. Luba, The Angel of Bergen Belsen was written by Michelle McCann and was an amazing account of a woman responsible for saving 54 children at Bergen Belson. I remember lying in bed the night I got the project thinking “I’ve just accepted a children’s book on the Holocaust… Dear God what have I done.”
It was a tricky project because of the subject matter and there was a very thin tight rope to walk. If the illustrations were too realistic, it would be inappropriate for children; to rosey, and you are making light of the Holocaust. It seemed impossible. I locked myself in my apartment for six months a worked on the art. Thinking and learning about the Holocaust for that period of time is not easy and eventually I started listening to trashy novels while I worked as an escape. Still, it was fascinating project.
After the project ended, it won a few awards and I eventually met Luba and a few of the children she saved. I will never forget the experience. They were some of the most impressive people I have ever met.
To see more of Ann’s work, please visit her website at www.annmarshallart.com
By Leigh Karen Labay