Next in our Artist Spotlight series is Anne K. Graca, who will be exhibiting in the PODS Container for Ventura Botanical Gardens for ArtWalk Ventura 2016. This is a series that gives you a chance to get to know some of this year's participating artists on a more personal level, exploring not only their work, but also their inspiration and their connection to the Ventura arts community.
Anne K. Graca was born in Minnesota, growing up amid its beautiful woodland lakes, which instilled in her a profound, life-long love and respect for nature. She now enjoys residing near the beach in Southern California. She often returns to water themes as the source of her inspiration.
Graca studied under Hans Burkhardt at CSUN, where she received her B.A. degree. At Ventura College, Gerd Koch introduced her to oil painting, her preferred medium. She is equally proficient with acrylics and mixed media, as well as sculptural and other 3-D works. Her art is in many private and commercial collections and is available for private or commercial commissions.
Take a moment to find out about Anne K. Graca below. Here are her words:
How did you come to be an artist?
I have been an artist since childhood. In high school I created the original "How Do You Feel Today?" poster, which has been used and copied around the world. I started painting in the '80s and have been producing various forms of art ever since.
In your eyes, what does ArtWalk Ventura bring to the community?
ArtWalk Ventura is an amazing avenue for local artists to showcase the prodigious talent that is here in this area. We have such a diversity of artists & art forms, I find it quite incredible. I love that people come from other places to see what we have here.
What are your favorite memories from the past years of ArtWalk?
My favorite memories from past ArtWalks are mostly about the fun people had- so many people enjoying each other's company while touring the venues, taking in the art and trying all the great food. The times I shared a space with another artist stand out in my mind (Lisa Skyheart Marshall,at Le Monde Emporium, we had fun!), and the year I was at Cafe de Artiste, the music was so great! Making a nice sale was always nice, too!
What are you looking forward to this year?
This year I am really looking forward to rubbing elbows with the people with the Ventura Botanical Gardens. I have a special affinity for that organization, and feel we are a good match. I am so pleased that I get to show my work with that group.
How would you define your creative process?
I really don't know how to define my "creative process"- so much of it simply involves feelings- a train of thought that defies putting into language. I guess that's all a part of using the right side of the brain. With painting, I am inspired by a visual image- I take pictures in nature and then paint from them, altering the colors to create a feeling or mood. With my 3D work, it starts with the materials: I blend organic, natural materials into shapes and forms that mean something to me. I came up with the Spirit Bowls by first wanting to make vessels with the bamboo we have growing in our yard- adding natural things I love like beach rocks, shells, vines, etc., and cementing them together with a form of concrete. The process evolves during the creation of a work of art.
When do you know when a work is complete?
It's not always easy to know when a work is "complete". Sometimes I just have to walk away from it for a day or more- if I come back & see something more I want to do to it, then I continue. If it feels complete & I'm satisfied with the results, then it's done. Occasionally a deadline will decide when a work is complete!
How else are you involved in the Ventura/805 community?
Right now I am very involved with the Buenaventura Art Association at the Ventura Harbor Gallery & Gifts location. We have approximately 14 artists, who are members of the BAA, showing & selling our artwork there. We all take turns hosting the gallery and had a great summer season. I so love Ventura!!!
Where do you want your work to take you in the next year? Beyond?
In the upcoming year I plan to do more beach & ocean-themed work to appeal to the visitors of the Harbor Gallery, and continue more garden art. I also think there are other venues that would be great places to show my Spirit Bowls, so will look into that in the upcoming months as well.
Anne K. Graca will be exhibiting at the Ventura Botanical Gardens PODS® Container for ArtWalk Ventura 2016.