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An Interview with Sculptographer Anna Church


Renowned New Zealand artist Anna Church has been living and working in Toronto for the last eight years. Her work is created through the multi-format, fine art medium Sculptography, and has been sold and exhibited globally. As a long-time admirer, I am thrilled to have caught up with Anna to discuss her latest collections, which are nothing short of breathtaking.

The stunning Fine Art Limited Edition prints combine Anna’s natural affinity for tactile materials, and her unique ability to turn these into sculpture before capturing it all through the lens of her camera. I love how Anna’s background in interior styling also comes into play. Her beautiful Toronto villa, where she lives with her husband (also a New Zealander), and two young children, provides the perfect setting for the three new collections.

Your background is originally in graphic design and interior styling. How did this path lead you to become an artist?

I’ve always loved developing new narratives, questioning and viewing things from different angles. I love collaborating and connecting with people. Design and art are a great platform for connection and discovery, I think that’s why I have always immersed myself within it. I’d like to think I can make someone's life a little better or interesting through the themes and processes I use within the art I create. I guess, I discovered that rather than putting paint to canvas, I could build, arrange and sculpt my visions to express my ideas. Photographing my creations has enabled me to bring my tactile, sculptural medium to the canvas, so to speak!

Talk us through your creative process. What spurs your ideas from mind to canvas through the medium Sculptography?

Curiosity, discovery and deeper investigation drive my creative process. An idea may come simply by spying an object or reacting to a word I’ve read, that aligns with a thought or a particular social impasse I may be reflecting or deliberating over, or a combination of the two. From there I work with the objects and assemble or manipulate them to fit the narrative or brief I’ve created for myself. I see my work sitting within the world of both aesthetics and conversation. Nothing is as it first appears. First, there’s a visual attraction but within that, there’s a narrative to discover, a why and how to its conception.

Your incredible new body of work comprises three limited edition art collections. Starting with Perspective Assembly, what was your inspiration behind this series?

Thank you! This series comprises compositions using a refined group of props and materials created from vintage decommissioned mechanical molds. I’d like to think I gave them a second life by assembling them into their new sculptural forms. With connectivity as my theme the ‘WORDS’, Perspective Assembly came to mind and highlighted the repurposing of these old materials and my response to what I was witnessing unveiling in the world that I wanted to portray through this series. They allowed me to incorporate sustainability and unity into my thesis. 

I wanted to emphasise our HUMAN gift and ability to seek and see new connections and outcomes, in ever-evolving ways: and investigate how intervention can lead to invention. These mechanical molds as individual parts put together become greater than the sum of their separate parts. In an era where headlines feel heavy, the notion of exploring and developing new narratives and initiatives is a hopeful message. Maybe through unified collaboration and our shared experiences, a Covid vaccine could be found, and my biggest wish, discovering new initiatives and innovations to save our planet.

You have also released an accompanying limited run of studio studies entitled Assemble. How does this fit alongside Perspective Assembly?

This is a collection that was developed through my preliminary arrangements. They provide a behind the scenes glance at the development of the Perspective Assembly fine art series. They are my ‘Studio Studies’ and they are priced to reflect ‘a work in progress’, rather than being elevated to a Fine Art Limited Edition status.

You describe the Ebb and Flow Series as being an exploration of the relationship between shape, form and negative space through the manipulation of fabric. Can you elaborate on this? Where did the inspiration come from?

I LOVE textiles and visiting fabric shops, it’s a great source of creative inspiration for me (from an interior and art perspective). I spied the way this fabric draped and an idea jumped into my head!

I strongly believe that texture can be used to 'colour' interior spaces, and the tactility of your art is what draws me in. What does this element mean to you, and how is it used to communicate ideas in your work?

Oooo yes, I agree! I love to bring a sculptural, tactile nature into my work and home. I’m drawn to materials that I’m able to layer, create texture and build a sculptural form from. The contorting of the fabric in my Ebb & Flow series simulates recurring ridges, layers, and rhythmical patterns. The mechanical molds used in my Assemble and Perspective Assembly collections, had a wonderfully worn natural patina to them. The light wrapped beautifully around their curves and angles as they lent themselves to be shaped into geometric stylized sculptural formations. I also explored and worked on developing a new textile printing technology with my fine art printer, for both my Perspective Assembly and Ebb & Flow series'. Each fine art photograph is printed on a natural Linen or Belgian linen fabric, intended to be stretched and framed like that of a painted canvas.

Let’s talk about your move to Canada. Has living in Toronto influenced your creativity, and if so, in what way?

Yes, the move has exposed me to different design and art influences and aesthetics across North America. The work I created when I lived in New Zealand very much reflected the ‘Kiwi’ culture. Moving countries has enabled me to make new observations and work on a new playing field of influence. 

I’ve had wonderful opportunities to exhibit alongside a wealth of North American artists and meet and work with designers and Art Consultants, in both Canada, the U.S. and internationally since moving to this side of the world.

Have you found any challenges while creating work in Toronto?

At first yes, when I moved here I had two little ones under 3, we moved to a small condo apartment and I had no studio space or a spare room to turn into one. I had to make all new connections within my new community and the art and design industry here. Toronto is very much like a small village though (that’s one of the main reasons why I love it). Once you know someone in the industry you're very quickly introduced or become familiar with other creators, their work, and field of expertise. I LOVE the Toronto design and arts community for this. Toronto is now becoming renowned for producing some world-class artists and musicians (they were always here, just overshadowed by the neighbour next door). It’s a very exciting, energising and progressive city to be immersed in and I love observing it grow and mature, year after year!

The beautifully curated interior of your Toronto villa provides the perfect backdrop for your work. Does your background in interior styling and your own home's aesthetic influence the art you create?

Yes, absolutely! Selfishly I start from the point of view of what would I like to admire and live with on my own walls or the walls of the interior designers I adore (like your beautiful home and aesthetic, Michelle!). This enables me to insulate my ideas and refine my direction, (as I have many ideas and concepts that permeate my head on any given day). 

Oh, thank you Anna! What have been the highlights of your career to date?

My first ever Limited Edition series I created and sold successfully in NZ. This initial milestone allowed me to gain traction to head towards where I am today. Finding a new footing amongst a new community, in a foreign land. Headlining up the New York Affordable Art fair campaign with my ‘Botanist’ artwork, exhibiting in New York, Miami, Hong Kong and Amsterdam. The support and connections I have made within the industry and with my collectors around the world.

You've talked about the inspiration behind your new work. Is there anything, in particular, that is influencing you right now – things you are reading, listening to, or looking at?

I’m influenced by the Climate Crisis, witnessing social changes and interventions that have been initiated globally from people banding together for these causes. I feel inspired and drawn (as so many others) to be part of a collective force that can hopefully lead to MORE change and MORE innovative pathways to support our planet, our people, communities and cultures. 

I’m either reading or listening to podcasts on these global issues. I’m a true believer in collaboration. In the last few months, we’ve all been able to witness a growing global community working as activists for the common good of each other. I have felt both influenced and inspired by this and I want to incorporate and build upon this messaging, in my work (both in and out of the studio). Perspective Assembly (and Assembly, the accompanying Studio Studies), have begun to highlight my interest in sustainability and connection. Investigating and emphasising our innate human ability to be able to seek and see new connections and outcomes, in ever-evolving ways. I’m visualising and conjuring up new ideas based upon this ethos that I can develop in my studio, over the coming months. 

In addition to New Zealand and Toronto, you have exhibited in New York, Miami, London and Amsterdam. Do you have plans to exhibit in the future?

Yes, I would love to continue to exhibit globally. However as this year became evermore travel restricted (non-existent), I found myself building my global reach and exposure ONLINE, sans a carbon footprint! At the start of this year, I designed a new E-Commerce website, featuring my Artwork in my home and incorporating my process and ‘Behind the scenes’ shots in my studio. My work is also represented and features on international Art focused websites, such as Saatchi Online (US) and Rise Art (UK). I also have had many opportunities to collaborate with Interior Designers and Art consultants on global projects remotely, all from the comfort of my home, which I’m down with, it's great!

You must be due for a break following the release of all your new work, but I suspect you're not one to sit still for long. The Covid-19 lockdown period has been a universally challenging time. How has juggling work with home-schooling affected your creativity and what's on the horizon?

You’re right, I don’t like to sit still for too long (but I do include daydreaming and conceptualising for lengths of time). But due to the recent events of the pandemic unfolding, I haven’t been able to have my much loved creative studio development time. Instead I have had to enlist myself in a sideline career, as chief Homeschool teacher. Having two kids under the age of 10 at home full time hasn’t been too conducive to be able to create and develop new work. Dipping in and out of running my business’s admin alone, homeschooling, staying safe, and connected to my community have been as much as I can handle. 

All I know is when I do get the chance to go back into my studio and create again, I’ll be bursting with ideas and salivating at the thought of creating them and bringing them to fruition!

Styling and photography by Anna Church

I have no doubt that the results will be amazing! 

The new collections are available online at Anna Church with worldwide shipping and through her Gallery Representation. 

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  1. Unique and stylish design of sculpture. The color combination is great, this will definitely enhance the beauty of house.



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