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Obtaining a view into Annie Owens’ world and work is a unique opportunity. Juggling life as a founder and editor of this fine publication with her artistic pursuits, Annie remains diligent in furthering her talents as a fine artist gifted in poignant visual scenarios. With a flair for watercolors at her disposal that has been present since childhood, Annie continues the expressive and delicate works that she has become known for in a new solo exhibit of works on June 16 at Copro Gallery entitled “Motherland”. Join us as we chat with Annie about her work, literary influences and a lifelong fascination with the personalities of houses.
Join us for a preview of some of her pieces for the show as well as a short interview.
Aunt May’s Hair
What was it that inspired you to be an artist, or to pursue your creative tendencies? How did you arrive at your chosen medium of watercolor and ink?
I think what ever drives a person to pursue what they like and do well is somewhat inherent in their makeup from the get-go. Whether it’s accounting, rocket science or art. That’s the best way for me to describe why I like to paint.
I wasn’t really drawn to watercolor at all until I saw Stephen Gamell’s work for “Leo Possessed,” a 1979 kid’s book; then in the 80s, his illustrations for the “Scary Stories” series made me a fan of his art. (I collect almost any horror lit even if it’s for kids but especially if there are great illustrations.) Watercolors and I just get along well. Maybe sometime soon I’ll have the patience to learn to paint with oils.
In your recent works a strong character has re-emerged – the wooden house. This is often characterized as its own entity, and might indicate some emotional moment or conceptual expression. Could you tell us about the house elements?
My houses have actually been around for as long as I’ve been making art. I put them up online. For a time, I painted and drew them obsessively… Houses are a lot like people to me. They have personalities. The opening paragraph to Algernon Blackwood’s “The Empty House” describes the nastier side… “Certain houses, like certain persons, manage somehow to proclaim at once their character for evil.” Haha of course there’s the good side too. Houses hold a weird fascination for me, always have. Right now, I’m trapped in this fascination of old shotgun houses that came out of Haiti and are all over the US.
You have an exhibition of new works entitled “Motherland” opening on June 16 at Copro Gallery. What does this new body of works represent to you, or for you?
It’s probably about me trying to reach my roots on either side of my family tree and not yet making the connections I want to make – though the body of work isn’t intended to be an overt representation of any of that. Well, except my floating houses with trailing roots – they’re trying to get grounded.
Being that you have such a busy schedule with managing the magazine, deadlines, other writers, finding artists and the like – how and when do you find time to make these lyrical works?
It’s more manageable throughout the year but toward a deadline it feels like it’s every waking hour. Not unlike most other artists. You forget to pay bills or put on street clothes. It’s just a drop and roll out of bed and to the easel. What a life! I really can’t complain.
Annie Owens’ show “Motehrland” opens June 16th at 8pm at Copro Gallery in Santa Monica. Contact Gary Pressman ([email protected]) to be put on the preview list.