If you’re reading this article right now, there’s a distinct possibility that you’ve got a few creative bones in that body of yours. You’ve made your way to the Warhol’s Children website and clicked on a link that looked a little bit arty. Perhaps you were looking for a bit of inspiration? Or maybe you’re suffering from creative block? Well, read on, dear reader, because Central Coast photographer Anne Lynn Sawyer might be able to help you out.
Anne’s photographs and illustrations are centered on the timeless concept of beauty in nature. Rather than torturing herself by looking inwards for inspiration, Anne prefers to look outwards. She looks outside of herself and outside of her windows in search of material to inspire her art. Nature is her vice and there’s a big wide world to keep her occupied.
Her work is created in the space where her two main interests, art and nature, collide. Anne’s creative practices are so intertwined into her life that she refers to her art as her, “beloved, if not demanding life companion,” before continuing, “we never get bored with each other.” I sat down with Anne to chat about her artworks and the inspiration behind them. It quickly became apparent that she’s just as in love with her ‘demanding life companion’ as she was when they first met…
Erin Cook: Have you always been passionate about creating art or is it something that has developed in recent years?
Anne Lynn Sawyer: The urge to express myself creatively has directed much of what I do for as long as I can remember. As a young child I would draw, colour in pictures, and make all manner of things from what I found around me. I feel truly blessed to have been provided with the sensitivity to see the world around me with creative eyes.
E: How do you view yourself? Are you a photographer, artist, illustrator or perhaps, all of the above?
A: I guess the closest answer to that would be, all of the above, as I draw on facets from a number of disciplines in my work. However, photography has provided me with a tool to amalgamate many of my interests and creative studies.
E: There is an overarching theme of nature throughout your work. Did this occur organically or was it a conscious decision?
A: My passionate love of nature has also formed an enduring part of who I am and has therefore fuelled and provided an infinite source of inspiration for my art creating. I view creative imagery as a powerful tool in the development of awareness for the beauty, diversity and gift of nature and the dire need for humanity’s respect through more sustainable practices.
E: Most of your photographs are instantly recognisable as your own. When creating new works, do you have a set process?
A: The development of a recognisable style for any artist is desirable and actively cultivated as a method to promote and identify your work as your own. However, having said that, I don't consciously follow a process, but merely answer what feels right when I am working. I guess to evaluate my process it would more closely constitute a constantly evolving series of experimentations rather than a ridged discipline. By working in this fashion, I remain fresh, engaged and am always learning throughout the development of new work.
E: How do you get the creative juices flowing when you're stuck in a rut?
A: I guess there are many ways I use to inspire myself to create...I like to go for a walk and just look about me, there is always something interesting out there in the big wide world.
The time of day you choose to photograph can open u a myriad of opportunities for capturing enhanced textural shots as the light is angled strongly in the early morning or as sunset approaches. I go looking for the shadows, which are cast by everything on bright sunny days. Shadows remove the confusing detail and reveal fascinating shapes, which have become altered, often eccentric versions of their creators.
I believe that all of us should view the work of artists and creatives as often as possible; their work is an endless source of inspiration...galleries, street art, craft markets, books, magazines, the internet.
Taking a class in a previously unexplored art form or craft is also a wonderful way of reawakening what lurks deep within the creative Aladdin’s cave that lies in all of us.
E. Do you have any advice for budding young photographers?
A. Practice truly seeing...learn to look more closely and imagine the potential in everything around you...that which seems insignificant and ordinary may be reinvented by open eyes and an open mind.
Sometimes, the best way to get out of a creative rut is to find out what inspires other creative minds. Anne’s enthusiasm for her art shines through her words, especially when you add nature to the mix. If that doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will. Now stop procrastinating and hop to it!
Image: Anne Lynn Sawyer