Anne Radu‘s exhibit is a trip down memory lane, with psychedelic patterns and colours. Her interest in symbolism and words has led to a collection of work that is as thought-provoking as it is fun. Below, I speak to her about this, as well as her other styles of art work, and her past.
‘Funky Diva’ exhibiting from Saturday, October 3rd to Friday, October 16th
How long have you been an artist?
I started painting when I was a child, and started selling paintings when I was 14 or 15.
Do you remember your first ever sell?
Yes. The thing people asked me to do was psychedelic pictures with ‘peace’ in them.
The word ‘peace’?
Yes, the word ‘peace’ hidden in it. I had doves in it as well.
How did that come to you? Was it your environment?
I think so. I was quite a hippy, and bright colours were very popular. I was drawn anyway to bright colours and pattern, and imagination – everything all at once [laughs]. I was very involved in music and I do believe very strongly that music and art are linked, especially if you paint from your imagination like me. Even the word ‘composition’ relates to both, doesn’t it?
Huh, that’s a really good point. Do you listen to music when you paint?
Sometimes. Sometimes I like to do it in silence – in my studio the doors are usually open so I can hear the birds.
What sort of music has influenced these pieces?
I suppose for this, it has to be rock and psychedelic music.
Any particular bands?
Cream, Deep Purple, the obvious ones – lots of psychedelic and progressive rock.
Which artists have influenced you, outside of music?
Kandinsky. He named a lot of his paintings as compositions, and he kept referring to his art as music. I also like Vanessa Bell, who uses very strong lines and beautiful colour. I do like some sculpture, and people have often said that my work has a sculptural quality. I don’t agree, because I probably have two left hands [laughs], but I understand what they mean. A lot of the designs could have been turned into sculptures.
You have many styles of painting.
I have several styles, for example the Venus paintings with abstract female forms in them, and the dreamscapes. They might look different, but they’re all still multi-layered. Often I’ll be working on different things at the same time, which some find weird, but it stops me being bored!
And of all your styles, why did you pick the psychedelic theme for this exhibit?
Rosy and I took one look at each other and decided it had to be psychedelic because the Glorious Art House is so brightly coloured and eclectic. I felt they fitted perfectly into the environment, as if they were meant to be here. I think Rosy felt that they were perfect for the venue, too.
What’s your creative process like?
I’m not sure there is a process – I do it in bursts. I’ll do loads of work when I’m in the mood, and if I do it like that, then the quality is much higher than if I just force myself to work consistently. Sometimes I’ve stopped for ages and thought “Gosh, this can’t be right!” but I’ve heard a lot of artists work like that. Gauguin would stop for years, and then suddenly go mad and paint the ceilings, the walls – everything. In that respect, I think I’m quite similar. If I try to do it when I’m not in the mood, it doesn’t work. Maybe that’s because it’s coming out of my head rather than representing things that are in front of me.
Have you always been like that?
I think so. It doesn’t mean to say I can’t do something that’s very representational. I dip into it now and again, but most of the time I choose not to. I’d rather have lots of secret layers in my work… well, not really secret, because people go “Oh, look!” and they find all the different parts. It’s nice.
I like that! And I was wondering, are there are any other artists in your family?
There’s very strong creative genes in my family. Quite a few people are musicians. One of my brothers is quite an accomplished artist, one of my sons is a very accomplished graffiti artist. A lot of us seem to have a creative gene, and I have no idea where it came from [laughs].
Element of mystery! Do you have a favourite piece from this exhibit?
That’s a tricky question, but I think it has to be ‘Wicked’. I think the word ‘wicked’ is such a cool word anyway. The painting is particularly mad, which is appropriate for the word, and I like the way it changes dramatically with the light. I also like the newer painting, the small one named ‘Rock’. I like its colours. As you see, I’m quite capable of changing which one I like best [laughs].
What inspired you to include words? Why ‘wicked’?
I’m interested in the idea that adding words adds more layers to the painting. ‘Wicked’ has multiple layers as a word, and that’s why I like it. It makes it more complex, and yet it’s still fun. I also like the fact that, much like painting, words change with time. So if you think of the biblical sense of the word ‘wicked’, it’s completely different to what it is today. I’m drawn to the symbolism of words, and the fact that they’re not fixed.
And what’s next for you?
I have an exhibit in March in Teignmouth. I’m going to need a lot of work for that, as it’s quite a big space. The plan is to have one section for the psychedelic paintings, and one for the dreamscapes. As it’s in Teignmouth, I’ll have water-based paintings and photographs, too. I urgently need to do some dreamscape paintings because I have very few left! In some ways they’ll be the opposite of the work here; however, they’ll still have the multi-layers. People interpret them in different ways – some see mist and mountains, and others see water. The style is very different and in a way – very free. They’re possibly more spiritual because they’re more about atmosphere, whereas these psychedelic ones are more about symbolism and questioning things. Questioning words, fashion – all sorts of things at once.
To keep up with Anne, and to see more of her work, go here.