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Studio Visit - Anna Ayeroff

Studio Visit

Studio visit with Anna Ayeroff

Anna Ayeroff has been traveling a lot recently, exploring the desert and the open road as she continues to broaden her practice. Read our interview with her and learn more about her work, the thought behind her unique photography, and developing process.

Q.

What is your favorite quote?

A.

“Art is important because it changes people’s consciousness. And changing people’s consciousness changes the world.” -Mike Kelley

 

Q.

When do you make your best work.

A.

When my head is clear, my body is rested and I am alone.

 

Q.

What is your favorite sound?

A.

Bare feet running on concrete.

 

Q.

What is your biggest demon?

A.

Perfectionism.

 

Q.

What do you love most about being an artist?

A.

I can speak without having to use words.

 

Q.

What is your happy place?

A.

The desert.

 

Q.

What kind of mediums are you using these days?

A.

Cameras. 35mm, 120mm, super 8, 16mm, digital. My hands. to cut, to mark, to glue, to place, to print

 

Q.

What is your favorite color?

A.

Green. Or the blue of the New Mexico sky when contrasted by its orange mountains.

Q.

Where are you the most inspired?

A.

Outdoors. and inside.

 

Q.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

A.

The pup staring at me with her chin rested on the edge of the bed.

 

Q.

What puts you to sleep at night?

A.

Warmth (the big spoon)

 

Q.

What would you draw a lover?

A.

The most perfect new world for us to live in.

 

Q.

What's your ideal life at 60?

A.

One where we are living in that most perfect new world I drew when we were younger.

Q.

What is your ideal life?

A.

In a simpler place.

 

Q.

Who is your favorite artist?

A.

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.

Anna Ayeroff Says

"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."

Q.

Tell us about this series of work?

A.

This series of photographic experiments come from an ongoing project called Land/Light/Longitude. About 7 years ago, I started taking solo road trips to Utah to photograph the ruins of the Jewish farm colony where my Grandfather was born. In taking these trips, I began to explore the surrounding landscape and became enamored with it. This series of works reflects my devotion to this landscape, to these mountains, and seeks to find answers to the question “How do I move mountains?”

 

Q.

What's the first thing you do when you begin formulating an idea for a peice?

A.

I write. My sketchbooks aren’t drawing based. They’re text based. So if you open them it’s just a bunch of chicken scratch. And maybe a sloppy diagram here or there.

 

Q.

These images are so beautiful and crisp, could you tell us about your developing process?

A.

I process my film with a non-toxic developer made from coffee and vitamin C. Caffenol. This is a process rich with flaws. My film is streaked with stains. Scan it and the image is brightly colored, the scanner software strangely interpreting light as nearly neon, contemporary. Printing in the darkroom with caffenol as the developer, stains the paper coffee colored, dating it. I use cyanotypes to make prints with sunlight, time making marks upon chemistry as the sun shifts overhead.

 

Q.

Did you grow up around other creative people?

A.

Yes, my mother was trained as an architect and my father was a creative director in the music industry. Both are artists in their own right. My sister is also very creative. We grew up with creative parents and their creative friends. I feel forever grateful to have been and still be surrounded by creative people.

 

Q.

What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to? Someone who’s work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days?

A.

I have a strong connection to Agnes Martin’s work. The repetition. The precision. The flaws. Her work speaks loudly to me.

 

Q.

Can you describe an experience you felt most nervous?

A.

I have had a few moments on the road when I don’t have cell phone reception and I haven’t seen another car for many many miles and I’m driving through a mountain pass or down into a quiet valley and I get really nervous. Feeling that isolated. Alone. But then I surrender to it. And it turns into exhilaration.

 

Q.

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

A.

My initial answer is solo travel but I realize the most brave act I’ve taken was to put down my dog of 5 years who got very sick very unexpectedly. She was my best friend. She was my sidekick. And the second I knew she was suffering, the answer was very clear to me. It was right. I felt so strong in knowing that, even when feeling such immense loss.

 

Q.

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

A.

My initial answer is solo travel but I realize the most brave act I’ve taken was to put down my dog of 5 years who got very sick very unexpectedly. She was my best friend. She was my sidekick. And the second I knew she was suffering, the answer was very clear to me. It was right. I felt so strong in knowing that, even when feeling such immense loss.

 

Q.

Why do you make art?

A.

Because I can’t not.

About Anna Ayeroff

Ayeroff builds imagined perfect worlds, performs rituals of place making and enacts a search for utopia through her work.

 

Read More

 

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