It took artist Anastasia Parmson many years to realise that when it came to her life’s two greatest passions – art and travel – she could never choose just one. Born in Estonia, studying in France and now living in Australia, her upcoming body of work was created in none of these places, but rather, Fiji.
“In 2013, I tried settling down in my hometown of Tallinn (Estonia’s capital) to work on my art full-time,” explains Anastasia. “But after nine months of being in one place I became restless and miserable. I had to find a way to do both art and travel, so I embarked on a voyage to Fiji to create my first cohesive body of work that would be consciously informed by my travel experiences.”
Spending five months travelling and sailing around the tropical islands of Fiji, the encounters and experiences reimagined themselves into a series of drawings entitled Glimpses of Fiji, which will be launched online on 2 April. “A majority of the “glimpses” are portraits of local children from small villages all over the islands. It wasn’t an intentional choice, I just really enjoyed photographing them because they were always so curious and happy to see foreigners and they absolutely love posing for the camera. In hindsight, I think it’s a great way to tell a story about Fiji and the South Pacific region because the earnest expression in a child’s eyes is so disarming, it strips us of any prejudice and political bias, leaving only empathy and a feeling of true human connection.”
While Anastasia’s artworks begin as photographs, the final pieces are far from it. “I bring my camera wherever I go to capture my adventures and to gather material for future drawings. Then, once I’ve taken all my photos, I select one and use it as a template. I start by tracing the black outlines with the help of a graphic tablet and stylus. I create the drawing in several layers, separating people, buildings and backgrounds. Then I add the colors, picking them from the photograph or by intuition.”
The end product is then printed using archival quality ink on acid-free paper and face-mounted onto a sheet of acrylic glass with a hidden aluminum hanging system, creating a stunning, frameless, glossy artwork. The artworks are unique and contemporary, a style Anastasia discovered in a contemporary art lecture at university. “During high school we had only been taught boring art history, nothing less than a century old. Then at university I discovered that there was a whole big world of contemporary art out there, created by living artists! With breathtaking clarity I knew then and there that I wanted to be part of that.”
Since then, Anastasia hasn’t looked back, holding exhibitions in France, Estonia and Tasmania, as well as having one of her travel sketchbooks in the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Art Gallery. Creating art that aims to inspire others to take the time to live their own adventures, you can keep up with her art and travel via her website.