Anna is a Russian-born, Berlin-based artist whose goal is to make you forget about your surroundings and reach into her paintings for a dark and sensual experience. Her paintings are layered with rich ‘symbolism’ that exude loneliness and a sense of extreme distraughtness. Anna delves into a world archetypical women whose gazes are so captivating, they are almost surreal. Anna states that the feelings and environments she creates in her work are a sort of solace and recharging booth for herself. All we can say to Anna is “thank you for inviting us to the wondrous place”.
See the interview with Anna Grau below …
“My works are the essence of my soul, a part of me. If they cause a reaction in the subconscious …”
Please tell us a little about yourself – your childhood, siblings, where you grew up, what you liked as a child, strange thoughts as a child/now, unique attributes, where you live now, etc.?
I was born in Moscow but raised in a suburb of St. Petersburg, a provincial boring place. I was a very cagy, introverted child that spent her days reading or painting. I don’t know if my caginess was just a result of my personality or whether it was an attempt to escape my unattractive surroundings. Fortunately, my family immigrated to Berlin when I was 15 because my mother is of German descent.
What does your art mean to you?
I like to grapple with the archetypes of the woman. With my art, I create a symbol-laden world that inspires and entrances me. That’s my place of refuge where I can draw energy from.
How do you describe your form of art?
What tools do you use for the creation of your work and how did you create your personal art style?
Oil on canvas. A new painting is a great challenge – every time. I work on it until I reach my limits. There are many layers in my paintings – not just figuratively, but literally. I start with a rough approximation and then add more and more detail. My goal is to reach a density that makes it impossible to discern the paint structure and brushstrokes. I strive after the perfect closed form and volume in the painting. I want the observer to forget the canvas and have the urge to reach into the painting.
What is the worst critique you have ever received about your work? What is the best compliment that you have received about your work?
The worst critique was that I don’t create anything new, and as an artist I “supposedly” have to invent something new. The best compliment for me is when people tell me that there’s darkness and sensuality, and also a sense of loneliness in my works. I like to hear this, even though some don’t mean it as a compliment.
Your images have a spirit/sense of longing and loneliness – is this purposeful? And what are you usually trying to evoke with your work?
It would be pragmatic to say it is purposeful. My works are the essence of my soul, a part of me. If they cause a reaction in the subconscious of the viewer, that makes me happy.
Which artist/s do you look up to the most?
To be honest, there isn’t any one artist that I idolize.
Since Style.No.Chaser is a men’s lifestyle magazine, what attributes/items/clothing /etc. do you think define a man?
Minimal style. Underwear.
What is your personal life philosophy?
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
What is your favorite movie and why?
That’s the most difficult question! I’m a movie addict and I’ve seen countless movies. I have many favorites and it’s always difficult to decide. One of the newer ones I was very impressed with is “I, origins”. In the movie the rational and the irrational, science and mysticism, logic and emotions, men and women all clash with each other. There is a collision of two worlds that are so different and contrasting – that is something that moves me very much and also something I strive to include in my works.
Apart from that I love the movies of Bertrand Blier, the older Woody Allen, Lars von Trier, Andrzej Zulawski like “Chamanka”, vampire movies like “Hunger” , movies with the young Nastassja Kinski..
How can people learn more about your current and upcoming works?
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