by ARV Staff
From Jackson, Michigan
Based in Los Angeles, CA
We were lucky to interview very special Ann Weber on her art story, sources for inspiration, recommendations for those who are just starting, books to read, questions to ask, and things to change.
Ann Weber | Boogie Woogie Plaid, 2016 | Cardboard, staples, polyurethane | 99 x 61 x 7 inches
AR: Please, tell us a bit more about yourself. What brought you into art?
A: I was a potter in Ithaca New York where I had started a pottery shop called People’s Pottery with my husband. Following a stint in New York City with another husband, I burnt out with the production of functional pottery and applied to graduate school. I moved to California and studied with Viola Frey at California College of Arts and Crafts (now CAA, California College of the Arts) in 1985. I struggled with getting away from the potter’s wheel and trying to figure out how to make art. I had taken only a few art courses in college. I was an Art History major at Purdue University.
My eureka moment came when Viola told me to go look at some real art, like Kandinsky. I checked out a book from the library and propped it in front of the potter’s wheel and started throwing forms inspired by the shapes in his paintings. There it was: Abstraction!
AR: What inspires you the most?
A: A good book, monographs of artists, such as Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel, or history such as The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. Ann Patchett’s nonfiction and fiction and anything by Rachel Kushner especially her new one The Hard Crowd.
In art, nothing beats William Kentridge, his drawings, live performances, films.
AR: What would you recommend to someone who's new to art (whether artist or just an admirer), what to begin with?
A: Get a decent part-time job, rent a studio with other artists so it will inspire you to show up. Be around art, go see it, go to talks and lectures, read about it. Set a regular time to be in your studio. With a part-time job try to get in 12 hours a week. If you can’t live on a part-time job in the city where you live now, MOVE. Have studio sales selling work for $100 twice a year to support studio rent. Live within your means.
AR: Your top 3 favorite adjectives related to art?
A: What the F***? No sh**! Holy cow!
AR: The best angle to look at art is from ...?
A: Your knees. Good art will do that.
AR: The perfect phrase to start any conversation about art is:..?
A: Viola Frey used to ask anyone who was an artist whether you were a student or a veteran, ”how is your work going in the studio?” That’s what I say too.
AR: Must-read books to help us talk about art (or do we even need them)?
A: I am an avid reader but mostly I read books from the library. I can request almost anything online through the Los Angeles Public Library and then I will get an email when it is delivered to my local branch. The few that I own are The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa by Michael Kimmelman; The Dream Colony: A Life in Art about Walter Hopps with Deborah Triesman and Anne Doran; Concerning the Spiritual in Art by Wassily Kandinsky.
AR: If you could change one thing in the art world - what would it be?
A: When most people talk about the “art world” they are thinking about the big international galleries, the great museums, the most famous artists who garner the highest prices. It’s usually talked about disparagingly. This to me is the 1%. My “art world” is my community of artists, regional museums, people I know who run galleries. This is who I support and consider myself a part of. If sometimes my work drifts over to a museum or Art Fair so much the better. The 99% is good enough for me.
If I could change one thing I would say stop talking about or worrying about the F******* Art World.
AR: Please, share your favorite quote (not necessarily related to art)
A: “ I know what I’m doing and I’m fearless.” - Barack Obama