“In 50 years trees will still be growing, waves will still be washing up shores, the sun will still rise and set every day and some of us might still be there to witness it.”
Visual Artist, Painter
Who are you? What do you do?
I live and work in Vienna where I studied painting and animation. I’m interested in the interplay between nature and construction, growth and decay, inside and outside as well as the contradictions of human condition and our relation with nature. I work through different mediums such as painting, drawing and photography to approach varying issues. The elements borrowed from nature and architecture can be read directly, but also stand metaphorically for psychological and social processes.
Where are you from?
Austria, to be precise from a village in Upper Austria but having been living in Vienna for almost 15 years.
Your style in 3 words?
See for yourself!
Your weakness? Your strength?
I am overly self-critical sometimes. I can easily reach my toes without bending my knees.
What makes you different?
Genetics and experiences, just as everyone else.
When did you decide to become an artist?
Since I was a child I loved painting, drawing and creating images and stories and dreamed of being an artist (or farmer or circus artist). I didn’t come to the decision to actually study art until my early twenties. Since I got my diploma from University of Applied Arts in Vienna saying that I am officially an artist, it has become easier calling myself that, but I feel like I still need to grow into that word.
What do you find most fascinating about the creative process/your work?
Creating depth and width from nothing, forgetting time and everything around while caught up in repetitive, filigree or physically straining work, looking at things really closely while also keeping an overview are some of the things I find most fascinating and fulfilling about the artistic process.
A few words about your favourite creation?
I’d rather not pick a favourite, so instead I will tell you about my latest creation for a project in a former juvenile prison in Lower Austria, where I spent five days working on my exhibition in one of the cells. In order to approach the space and its historic legacy, I created frottages of various surfaces, collecting traces of the building’s past, but also its current state. Visitors are invited to produce their own frottages and add them to the exhibition. The exhibition will be open until October 3rd, so if you happen to be in the area you should find the flyer on my website and come see it.
Someone else’s work that inspired or inspires you…
Los Carpenteros, Toba Khedoori, Francesca Woodman, William Kentridge, Betty Woodman… I get inspired all over the place, from details in Pre-Raphaelite-paintings to the large scale woodprints by Christiane Baumgartner, Franz Gertsch and Ofer Lellouche I just saw at Albertina – from walks in the forest to crumbling walls.
Who would you like to work with someday and why?
Maybe Cinthia Marcelle because I really admire her bold, intelligent and fun installations and video works.
A new project coming up or an idea you want to work on?
I’m really fascinated by lichens that grow in the nearby forest at the moment. I started painting them in small watercolors during the lockdown when I didn’t have access to my studio. I love to play with scale and I want to blow them up somehow. Also I’m working towards an exhibition at Kunstraum Super during the Vienna Art Week in November.
Finish the sentence „More important than my career is…“
Physical and mental health. Social equity. Compliance with the declaration of human rights. Radical reduction of carbon emissions. A lot of things actually!
2020: Where are we going?
Well, luckily I’m not an oracle! As for me, I’m not going anywhere for now with Covid-19 lurking around.
When the going gets tough…
I take a break from work, news, social media and event culture and make myself slow down, spend time in nature and exercise. And then back to work!
Your city’s favourite spots?
My studio and the Donaukanal right next to it, the Wienerwald (extensive forested area in and around Vienna), my cosy yellow armchair at home, museums and galleries…
Put on your future vision glasses: What direction is our generation moving in, what will our world look like in 50 years?
In 50 years trees will still be growing, waves will still be washing up shores, the sun will still rise and set every day and some of us might still be there to witness it.
What would you do if you could change the World?
I can think of a lot of things I could do – like introduce unconditional basic income for everyone all over the world; impose taxes on insane wealth and environmental polluters; melt all weapons into something useful; lower the average temperature of the earth by 2 degrees; make people be nice and respectful to themselves and each other – I might just end up hiding under my duvet instead, thinking that changing the world in the face of long-established, often toxic and corrupt systems is a too complex and overwhelming task to ask of any one little person.
If the universe is everything and it’s expanding, what is it expanding into?
Tell us about your future plans…
I want to create more large-scale paintings and am looking forward to going on my first artist residency in Czesky Krumlow next year that had to be postponed due to Covid-19. I will have a big studio space there all by myself for a month and hopefully less distractions than back home.
Last but not least: what is your favourite Song?
Today my favourite Song is “Habib Galbi” by A-WA.
One last statement please: „Wood or stone, gold or art?“
#annaschmoll or better go to anna.schmollt