NAME: Annette Back LOCATION: Bronx, NY
So we’re going to start with the difficult question: sum up your creative process in one word/phrase and explain why.
Conceptual. Painting for me begins one of two ways.
Either, I will have a visual vision that pops into my mind. I take that vision and plan out the composition. In addition, I research for any mixed media (photographs/text) that might be suitable to become the first layer of the painting. Once the first layer is established, the act of painting is intuitive. Colors, strokes, shapes, tints, textures, nuances are not planned but are built through the process of painting many layers, sometimes letting the first layer show through.
Or, I might have an idea to express a certain message. In that case, I will research for visual inspiration that might fit the idea. Once settled on the main composition, I proceed as described above.
Were you always an artist, even as a child? What was your path to becoming an artist?
According to my mother, the answer is yes, though I don’t really remember it. I do remember that my art interest actively came “online” at the age of 16, when I took an elective art class with a teacher— which looking back, you would describe as a hippie. He was not your typical “german” teacher. He introduced me to Monet and Magritte. The first oil painting I ever did was a copy of Monet’s “Fields in Spring” in his class. That was kind of cool. I still have it. And I was obsessed with Magritte. My love affair with Magritte’s work continues to this day. The idea of being an artist was not something I pursued actively in high school. I was too busy trying to survive all the subjects that were hard for me (ie: science, math, etc). Not to mention, my move from Germany to the US at the age of 17. Then came college. I was searching for my “path” and met someone who was studying graphic design. It was such an aha moment. It clicked and changed my life. An actual profession where I can utilize my interest in art? I convinced my mother to let me go to the School of Visual Art. I was finally in my element. I had proper instruction in fine art, drawing, art history along with graphic design. Heaven. Graphic Design was/is perfect for me, I enjoy the work immensely. It kept me challenged, interested, and successful for many many years. Nevertheless, it has one major drawback. I always have to please someone else as well. The client, the boss, the copywriter. My own sense of what I wanted to create became stronger and stronger and that is how I found my way back to painting. It started 6 years ago and it has been glorious. I love it so much. That… is my long path to becoming a fine artist.
What is your medium of choice and what drew you to this particular medium?
Oils and Acrylics on top of mixed media. I love to include words and text. Oils and Acrylics are very forgiving and can be manipulated to perfection. They can be thinned out or used very thick. I experiment a lot and either medium lets me redo whatever I did not like. My style is somewhat loose and I love using a lot of thick color to get varied textures.
Is there any particular experience, person, place, or thing that inspires you to create? Tell us about that.
Inspirations and ideas come from everything around me, sometimes nature, sometimes a transition in a video, sometimes an old photograph, the face of a child, or raindrops. I never know when inspiration strikes. Though currently, I seem to want to express the inner workings of the mind. What is lurking underneath the surface? What ideas, thoughts, feelings or dreams are hidden? How do you feel?
What is it like showing your work to people and what do you hope people take away from it?
There is nothing like seeing a person stop, take in and think about what they are looking at. It is an amazing feeling when people are affected by the work. I hope that my work inspires the viewer and makes them feel moved or questioning.
What advice do you have for other artists who may be looking to get their work exhibited?
Keep doing what you love. Keep pushing forward. Find opportunities. Find your audience. Don’t listen to ney sayers. Follow your passion and pursue your dreams.