Anna Ayeroff | Studio Visit
Los Angeles, CA
Tell us a little bit about what you're doing in your work now.
I’ve spent the past few weeks at a residency in the small town of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. The New Mexico landscape has drawn me back to it many times over the years and having the time to explore it has been heaven.
The starting point for my recent work has been a feminist utopian novel published in 1911 by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, called “Moving the Mountain”. Using the book’s title as a symbol for utopian vision, I have been exploring different ways to “move mountains.” The movement has ranged from cutting and layering photographs, to building miniature rock formations, to taking the actual text of the book and copying only the letters N, S, E and W from each page, creating a set of directions.
New Mexico has perfect mountains - I spent the start of my year photographing them, filming them, painting them, building them, thinking about how they might one day move, becoming a perfect world.
The root of my practice, and the root of Utopia itself, is always literature and language. I can’t help but feel like “The Land of Enchantment” might be a perfect place. And that a wonderful town called “Truth or Consequences” could be even more special because of its name. Words have a funny way of making me believe.
Did you have breakfast today?
Which is your favorite quote?
“Art is important because it changes people’s consciousness. And changing people’s consciousness changes the world.” -Mike Kelley
What kind of mediums are you using these days?
Cameras. 35mm, 120mm, super 8, 16mm, digital
My hands. to cut, to mark, to glue, to place, to print
When do you make your best work?
When my head is clear, my body is rested and I am alone.
What is your favorite color?
Green. Or the blue of the New Mexico sky when contrasted by its orange mountains.
What is your favorite instrument?
The ones that sound like a voice or beat like a heart.
Where are you the most inspired?
Outdoors. and inside.
What is your favorite sound?
Bare feet running on concrete.
What is your biggest demon?
What is your happy place?
What do you love most about being an artist?
I can speak without having to use words.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
The pup staring at me with her chin rested on the edge of the bed.
What puts you to sleep at night?
Warmth (the big spoon)
What would you draw a lover?
The most perfect new world for us to live in.
What’s your ideal life at 60?
One where we are living in that most perfect new world I drew when we were younger.
Where is your ideal life?
In a simpler place.
What do you most admire in a man?
What do you most admire in a woman?
Who is your favorite artist?
I can never answer this question because I always forget who I love. But the first time I ever cried because of a piece of art was standing in front of Velasquez’s Las Meninas. My most vivid memory of crying from an artwork is climbing down to the Sprial Jetty and then being reminded of that watching JG by Tacita Dean. And the most recent piece of art that made me cry was a small Georgia O’Keefe painting that looks like a butt.
Why do you make art?
Because I can’t not.
Who is your hero?
My great-grandfather, who had the bravery, foolishness, gumption, and hubris to move his Russian immigrant family from the lower east side to a jewish farm colony in Utah. He wanted to live the dream. The utopia failed, but the man sure did try.