Artist Anna Stichbury

When did you first start creating and know you were an artist?

Gosh, where to start?! I imagine I was probably redesigning the interior of my mothers womb! I can’t remember a time when I didn’t see colour and pattern everywhere. As a child I was always preoccupied with the illustrations of a book far more than the words, I wanted food based on what it looked like and not what it smelt like etc. My world has always been a visual one. I have always known I was a maker. I imagined and created, Both purely for the joy of it and for practical needs. If I didn’t have it and needed or wanted it, I made it. I was happiest when I had a creative project on the go and still am.
I started to understand I was an artist halfway through my design degree. Being far more interested in colour, texture and the physical creating of a piece and its visual value, and less concerned with its practical function. This is also when I made and sold my first artworks to help support myself while studying.

Which artist (from any discipline, living or dead) has had the greatest impact on your process?

Only one you ask!? I have a gathering of precious and vivid memories of paintings I met as a child that definitely created the mould I would be cast in as an artist. Two paintings hung on our dining room wall, one an ink on paper of a forest (by Avis Higgs) and the other an underwater seascape. I was chewing my over cooked veggies when it suddenly dawned on me that these rich worlds were actually created by a person with paint, brush and mark making. I was from that point on fascinated by medium and process. Then there was the Milan Mrkusich huge Black on Black work I saw at the Dowse gallery when I was 10 years old. It was like someone had thrown a bucket of cold water over me. Those large black inky panels of colour are still sharp in my memory. My first Gretchen Albrecht painting in person had much the same effect. But I think as far as process and how and where I make my art, that would be Suzy Pennington. Suzy lived in Wellington and was the mother of a good friend. I spent time in her home where she generously showed me her studio, allowed me to watch her work, shared her creative process, the challenges of being an artist, a woman, a mother, and how it could be incredibly rewarding. This was the first practicing artist I had met outside of school or study and it allowed me to see what was possible.

What one tool can you not live without?

This is not a very glamorous answer but my many many cloths. I am an incredibly messy creator and require an army of varied cloth for mark making, painting, blending, and of course trying to limit and clean the chaos!

Which one tool or medium would you like to try or master?

Oils for sure. I have dipped my toe into oils from time to time. This will be the first time I have included oil painting in one of my exhibitions.

What are you currently working on / engaged with?

I am currently wrestling with a rather large flock or blue jewel toned painted butterflies and attempting to tame them into a finished installation.