“My year eight art teacher told me I had ‘a creative license’ after I got full marks for an art project by executing the piece in the opposite way to how she had instructed. I’m an art brat, I’m going to do it my way and I’m not going to listen to anyone!” says Sydney interior designer Anna Price who has recently made a very successful career pivot to full-time painting.
While originally trained as an interior designer, with a degree from UTS, Anna had been working in modular construction for her business Container Kit since 2005 until COVID hit and all her design jobs got pulled. “I would call the painting a career pivot as I still use my design skills when I plan artworks – their colours, scale and locations,” says Anna who, remarkably, only picked up the brushes for the first time in 2018 after renovating and looking for some affordable artwork solutions.
“We were short of cash and while I’d always been an illustrator, I’d never painted.” She bought a large canvas and painted it for her living room. That work ended up being donated to her local kindy fundraiser. “Much to my surprise it sold for $800 which encouraged me to do more and as I did, friends and friends of friends started asking for pieces for their own homes,” says Anna who is entirely self-taught and works out of a studio in Chatswood.
Favouring abstract expressionist and cubist styles, Anna moves between the two depending on her mood and self-confessed short attention span. “When I’m a bit over the expressive abstracts, I start a cubist style painting but with the perfect rigid lines I get over that pretty quickly and start throwing paint all over another canvas, expressive style!” She also draws inspiration from her luscious backyard, scenery at her parents’ rural NSW property and urban graffiti. “The latter influence comes across more in my drippy pieces,” says Anna.
Rather surprisingly, given her beautiful use of colour, Anna struggles with this aspect of painting. “I find that good colour palettes don’t come naturally to me, and I firmly believe a cohesive palette is 90 percent of what makes a painting beautiful, so it’s something I’m working hard on nailing,” says Anna who finds it hard to control herself when selecting from all the colours of the rainbow. “My problem is when I see all the paint pots, I want to use all the colours so finding restraint is something that I’m trying to practice. This is where some art education would probably come in handy.”
Incredibly, Anna manages to work on her art while raising four children, using a combination of daycare, kindy, school, grandparents and working as a team with her husband. With four kids arriving in four years (including a set of twins), Anna finds refuge in her art.
“I separate my work hours from my family hours so I can focus on each component properly. My household is pretty full-on so needless to say my work days are an absolute treat and they go way too fast.”