Interview: Annette Mahoney
Luca Curci talks with Annette Mahoney during CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2021 – 8TH EDITION, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
“I am based in Copenhagen, Denmark. As an artist I started out as a writer, but through a friend I got interested in painting and since then, it has been a massive passion. I think art is the most important way we can influence society and the world. Politics and economy might be the brains of the whole operation, but art is the heart. I have exhibited a lot of places. From small cafes to art museums and galleries. For me, it is important to keep the price of my work as low as possible. Original art should be available to everyone, and I would rather sell a piece to someone who really connects with my work than to someone who sees it as an investment. Art should speak to your soul, not your wallet.”
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Annette Mahoney – For me, art is a way of seeing the world. It gives me the opportunity to process emotions and feelings through colors and brush strokes. My personal life is quite often chaotic and art offers a form of therapy, where I can create a space for myself to make some sense of the chaos around me.
LC – What is your background? What experience has influenced your work the most?
AM – Initially I started out as a writer, and this still shapes my work as an artist today. I create little stories or personalities in my head when I paint. I am not sure if I can pinpoint one particular experience that has influenced my work, but Picasso has certainly played a massive part in my life. As a child I was fascinated with his work, and it is a love affair that has continued to this day.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
AM – It kind of comes from everywhere. Sometimes it is a sound or an emotion that I try to paint, other times it has a political undertone, an inspiration that comes from a news story or some other kind of debate in society. I rarely get my inspiration from nature. It might sound weird, but I live in a major city and even though I enjoy trips to the countryside it plays a very minor part in my artistic work. I like fashion and buildings and people and graffiti on trains, and that is where I find most of my inspiration. I might look at a sunset and think, oh I want to paint that some day, but it never happens. It is urban life and what goes on inside my head that ends up on the canvas.
LC – How is it being an artist nowadays?
AM – I think its great. I haven’t been an artist back in the old days, but the internet has certainly made things easier, I think. I can check out whats going on in Japan if I feel like it, or I might get a virtual tour of an art exhibition in Rio. That is amazing, and I think there are a lot of great artists out there. For some reason people treat artists as if they are either mentally ill or somehow inspired human being, and I don’t really understand that. Yes, art is a creative process, but for me it’s also like playing when I was a child. I have a regular job that pays the bills, and then I get to play and create stories in my hand and that is a privilege, I think.
LC – Did your style change over the years, and how?
AM – Yes, it has changed. I have gone through phases. I started off being very abstract. Lots of brush strokes that were somewhat random, until I ended up with something that felt right. These days I am much more structured, and usually have most of the painting figured out before I start painting.
LC – What do you think of the concept of this festival?
AM – I love the concept. Contemporary art is so diverse, and yet is still has a kind of common feel to it. A feeling that runs right through this exhibition. We might not belong to the same generation, but we are all artist living in the world as it is today, and we all share experiences and react to current events. It is very inspiring to see what other artist have done, and some of the work exhibited has definitely inspired me. It was the “mixing identities” part of this exhibition that inspired me most. I think most of us contain multitudes and so the fluidity of identities goes on inside us every day. When I was younger I sometimes wondered if I was crazy. I had an idea that other people had a stable core, a kind of fixed personality, and that was not the case for me. These days I know that none of us are stable. We are all nitroglycerin.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
AM – The painting I have chosen to present in Venice draws on a long and old tradition of abstract painting, with a clear reference to the Bauhaus movement. The hardline graphic lines are very contemporary, I think, and a trademark of mine. I call it Juno. In roman mythology she was the highest ranking goddess. Married to Jupiter. She was the protector of marriage and children, but also a high ranking counsel to the state and dressed as a warrior. All these identities are within every working woman in the world today.
LC- Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
AM – I think that an exhibition like Contemporary Venice can represent a great opportunity for an artist. The exposure goes way beyond what I could have done myself, and I thank Itsliquid for the opportunity. The venue is fantastic and the artworks displayed are very inspiring and fresh.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
AM – I have really enjoyed the whole process of working with the curator and all of Itsliquid, and would definitely do it again, if I get the opportunity.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
AM – I love the platform. The design appeals to me, and I have read almost every single article on it. I am a bit of a fashionista, so the fashion bit is my favorite part, but generally I always follow it and keep a check on upcoming exhibitions and the artist highlighted.