ANYA PAINTSTIL

Interview AUGUST 2020

What inspires your work? 

Most of my inspiration at the moment is coming from my life and memories - particularly in relation to my childhood and experiences growing up as a black person in North Wales (which is probably around 99% white). dynamics in my various relationships also inspire me a lot. Folklore, tradition and symbolism play a big role in the thinking behind my work

I’m half Ghanaian half Welsh and I come from a rural North Walian farming background, in both cultures cloth and textile are important elements of our heritages, so that’s where a lot of my interest comes from. I wanted to utilise and repurpose skills I already had and rarely used otherwise- I learnt to how to make rugs and braid hair long before I went into arts education. I’m influenced by the feminist art movement and believe that working in this medium can give work unspoken feminist connotations. In combining these textile and Afro hair dressing techniques within a fine art context I hope to make people reconsider what art is or can be - what is included within the fine art canon and what is relegated to craft

 


My textiles are made using a variety of techniques including punch needle embroidery and latch hooking. I tend to stitch free-hand with an idea in mind and make changes as I go along. Most of my works are inspired by memories, feelings and relationships,  everyday I draw or paint in a semi automatic fashion with these things in mind. Whenever I want to make a new textile piece I pick through these drawings for inspiration.  When I’m working on a new piece I kind of get into a weird zone where I don’t think or focus on anything else until I’m done, I work by hand so my textiles usually take between 1-4 weeks to complete, the process usually involves a lot of backache and staying up all night. I usually listen to a lot of audiobooks while I’m working so often what I’m listening to influences how I feel. Right now I’m listening to The Famished Road by Ben Okri

Favorite Movie:
My favourite movie is Midsommar, I love folk horror and I’m generally fascinated by ritual, tradition and mythology. I identified with the main character in a lot of ways too.

Favorite Texture:
My favourite texture is anything fluffy. I like touching fluffy stuff when I’m stressed or anxious - most of my clothes are fluffy for this reason.

On Covid 19:
Covid really scares me right now, I recently lost my grandma to the virus, which has been massively devastating to me and my family. The uk government doesn’t seem to have anything under control at the moment and I’m honestly terrified of what’s to come. I want to move to a private island with my family away from this crap.

What's Next?
I do have a few projects germinating in my mind - ideas from my drawings that I’m finding it kind of difficult to translate into textile - both ideas are inspired by my relationship with my younger brother.

Favorite food:
My favourite food is charcuterie platters with loads of fancy cheese and ham and all the trimmings. 

If you were an animal what would you be?
I would be an African wild dog, I’d want to be a predator and I like the look of pack living.

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