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Anna Valdez | Studio Visit

Oakland, CA

March 2016


When did you start calling yourself an artist?

I guess I started identifying as an artist when creating became my primary focus.

When do you make your best work?

I tend to produce my best work early in the morning or later in the evening, when everything is quiet.

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea or the other way around?

When I am in the studio and I notice small moments that spark an interest, I am naturally motivated to explore them further. In general I am a curious person, so I gravitate towards discovery – whether that be in subject material or methodology. At a certain point my motivation shifts to be more about the process. So I guess it isn’t either or, more of a give and take. Sometimes the subject inspires the process initially whereas other times it is the opposite. 

Is art making therapeutic for you?

In a way, facing a large painting is kind of like looking in a mirror. There is a certain level of self-reflection when trying to work through ideas visually. I am not sure if that means it is therapeutic, but creating art definitely contributes to my growth.

What are you most proud of?

The relationships I have built, and continue to build, in the art community.

Artist whose career you covet?

Covet is a strong word. Everyone’s career takes a unique path based on their circumstance, so I don’t necessarily wish I had someone else’s career. However, the list of artists I admire is long, like Charles Garabedian, Lois Dodd, Elizabeth Blackadder, Joan Brown, and Jennifer Bartlett to name a few.

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

Continuing to work as an artist.

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

The American Southwest. The landscape is saturated in color and incredibly vibrant. I also love that many of the earth pigments I use can be found in this environment. It’s like you’re living in a painting when you’re there.

Did you grow up around other creative people?

Absolutely. My mother is a musician and quilter, my father is a horticulturist, and my sister is a singer/song writer.

What are your other hobbies?

Cooking and gardening.

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

Francis Bacon, because he liked to party.

What influences you?

My environment.

What motivates you?


What’s your studio philosophy?

Work every day. And by work I mean: create, look, read, listen, write, inhabit the studio space.

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?

I try to base my studio time on a standard 40-hour work week, but it of course fluctuates.

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

It honestly depends on my mood. A lot of the time sound that ranges from audio books to The Talking Heads.

Favorite art-making tools?

Good ‘ol fashioned paint brushes.

Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?

Installation art/sculpture.

What’s next? 

Whatever feels right in the moment.