Just down the hall from me at Artists & Makers Studios is a place where mysteries are brought to life on canvas. An artist there is busy capturing the essence of undefinable things, or perhaps she is creating definition where there previously was nothing. It is a place of pure abstraction most of the time, and always a place for kindness and conversation.
Just down the hall from me is Anne Cherubim.
It's been my pleasure to get to know her. Now it's your turn...
Anne Cherubim is an abstract contemporary landscape painter. She works predominantly in acrylic. Her art is rooted in real life images and textures, with a modern abstraction, often in a limited color palette.
Her art is a reflection of contemporary art as portrayed by someone who is a product of a myriad of cultures: a Canadian girl, born of Sri Lankan parents, now residing in the US. This unique 'lense' through which she sees the world informs her work, undeniably. ‘Tolerance’ is the word we use to talk about being open to, and welcoming of, one another. Anne believes ‘embrace’ is a much better word for talking about cultures, and the ways in which we can coexist. Art and music transcend language - among other barriers - and create commonalities, harmony. They are universals that can be appreciated no matter where you come from, or what language you speak. This is the type of experience Cherubim hopes that her art allows for.
Though she has been an artist for many years, her professional pursuit of it began more recently. Anne has enjoyed exhibiting her work locally and internationally. She resides with her husband and children in the eastern United States and is a resident artist at Artists & Makers Studios in Rockville, Maryland.
Describe your studio practice.
For many years, I worked out of the breakfast area of our home. It worked while it worked. I spent many years creating art between 11:00 pm and 2:00 am once everyone was asleep, and there was no danger of curious little fingers getting into fresh paint, nor cadmiums touching those precious little fingers. I am now in a studio outside the home (at Artists & Makers), during the day, when my kids are in school. My hours are still very flexible within that time, so I am most likely to be in the studio between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm. Occasionally, when circumstances allow, I work late, but I am in the studio just about every single day, Monday - Friday, even if it means for just two short hours! Sometimes I have the music playing, but not always.
What's something people who aren't familiar with you/your work should know about you?
Though there is a vast difference in the types of work I have created over the years, the underlying thread in many of my pieces is the environment, and stewardship of the planet. I paint abstracted scenes of real-life beauty.
I am often asked if my pieces are done in oil, so I think it would be good for people to know I work in acrylic. I haven't worked in oil since the kids were born. My pieces do not have the traditional look of acrylic, as acrylic does not lend itself to blending easily, so I think that is the confusion. My pieces are blended in a way that you can usually do more easily with a slower drying medium than acrylic. I guess I enjoy the challenge of making the acrylics look like oil.
Another thing people may not know is that I also have a side project of digital paintings, called The Recycled Art Project. They are a separate body of work, with a very different look compared to my acrylic work, and done quite differently as well. The initial pieces, (the source material for The Recycled Art Project) were done with traditional methods, while the "recycled' pieces involve a computer, not canvas/paper/paint. So though my main body of work is done in acrylic, I work digitally, in spurts, as well.
Some artists make a piece they would never sell. Tell us about yours.
There are two paintings that I made when I first moved here to Maryland. They represent a shift, where I finally said: okay, let's do this. I will take the leap, and stop just making art for fun. I'm all in. I am going to do this. For that reason, those two pieces are special to me. They are two dark teal pieces, shades of colour that I love. One is called "Like Pebbles", and the other is called "Night". Those pieces remain in my personal collection, but I will be releasing fine art prints of them, all these years later.
How do you get going again on a piece when stuck?
I might try a bit, but generally, I do not fight with a piece (unless I'm really up against a deadline). I usually take the piece off the wall. It will call to me when it is ready, and wants to be painted.
How can metro DC do better by its artists and galleries?
I think we could do with more granting opportunities locally, including more unrestricted grants. In particular, the one thing that I would love to see is granting that recognizes that there are parents who are also artists. There is a foundation on the West Coast that recognizes that artists and writers with families often have to put their creativity on hold, or even forget about it all together, while dedicating themselves to the wonderful opportunity to be a parent. That grant aims to encourage people to continue to make time for their creativity. I love that! It is a difficult and deliberate choice for many of us to "turn off" the creative impulse. It doesn't really work that way.
Apart from grants, I agree that we could do with much more arts coverage, as well as find ways to educate the public more about art. We need to find ways to make art more accessible to people, and change the attitude that art is something "out there", inaccessible, "not for me".
What tips would you give someone who wants to buy art but is afraid to start?
I would tell them to really just go for it. If they like something, if there is a piece that they are gravitating towards, that is the reason they should buy it. They should not worry about what other people think about the piece, and whether some exterior source considers it "good art". Life is too short to not surround yourself with meaning and beauty, and love the art you live with. You don't want to live with the art that your friend, or your neighbour loves. You want to live with the art that speaks to you, that calls to you, that asks you to take it home.
Go see Anne's work. Let it speak to you. She has a two-person show at Artspace Herndon called Ethereal & Natural Reactions with a reception, November 14th, 7-9pm. She'll also be participating in Artomatic 2015, displaying the Recycled Art Project.
websites: www.cherubim-arts.com, as well as annecherubim.com
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AnneCherubimArtist features the abstract contemporary landscapes, as well as http://www.facebook.com/Cherubim-Arts-26671837212
We all need a manifesto. Here's mine.
This is what I do. This is what I do when I should be helicoptering, nurturing, cooking, cleaning.
This is what I do because I believe making things with my hands is important.
This is what I do because we’ve been taught throughout time that women don’t get messy. That we stay clean and presentable and perky and pretty.
This is what I do because art you experience visually is something to be valued. It takes skill to look, to contemplate, to make the connections, to create relevancy out of abstraction.
I do this because you, dear daughter, are more than a degree, a paycheck, a sexy black dress, a wedding ring, the right color of nail polish, or eyebrows plucked to perfection.
I do this because the personal is political, whether viewers read politics in my work or not.
I do this because I care about turning the inside outward: I am trying to remember most of the moments of my life that add up to make me who I am.
I do this for the voiceless. I do this for those who have a voice but keep it quiet and meek. I do this for those without access to the perceived frivolity of the arts. I do this because to me life without art would simply be noise and chores and expectations.
I do this because clever social media meme imagery with text in Impact typeface is not art. The art I respect is hold-it-in-your-hands art, hold-it-in-your-heart art, keep-it-in-your-deepest-memories art, put-down-the-cell-phone art, wish-I-could-do-this art, stop-time art.
Art is not a download or a $75 concert experience. It is an eye song, a symphony on a wall you can play over and over again if you’d just listen.
I do this, dear daughter, because you say you are not moved by art, but one day I will move you. I may be dead and gone, but you will look back and say, “My mother made this. And because she did, I have her with me still.”
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An animated GIF file seems like a good, clear way to show the steps I use to make a painting. Well, most of them. I spared you the underpainting, white-wash layers, and the final coats to seal it all up.
"Storyline" is in my usual acrylic and charcoal. It's 60 x 50 inches and will be on view at my fall solo at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Center in Frederick from October 31 to November 29, 2015. I hope you can come to the First Saturday reception on November 7 from 3 to 5 PM.
Storyline uses a lot of the text from this poem of mine about the pressures of trying to do it all and do it well, of trying hard to be perfect for so many people:
laying down the words
constructing the plot
giving it form
creating the arc
telling the story
planting the seed
harvesting the thoughts
preparing the feast
setting the table
cleaning the dishes
minding the details
taking the long view
connecting the dots
threading the needle
weaving the tapestry
stitching it tight
keeping you warm
making it visible
making it true
making it long and loud and lovely
going the distance
going for speed
walking a fine line trying very hard not to fall