Ania Hobson’s Artistic Symphony in Lazinc Magazine

Cool, Calm Composer

Interview by Gwynned Vitello // Portrait by Jahed Quddus

Ania Hobson, a talented British artist, has a unique approach to her art that draws inspiration from her rural upbringing in Suffolk County. With a keen eye for posture and perspective, she captures the beauty of both people and animals in her portraits. In this interview, Ania discusses her artistic journey, influences, and the process behind her captivating paintings.

A Childhood Immersed in Nature

Gwynned Vitello, the interviewer, begins by expressing curiosity about Ania’s choice to have a studio in Ipswich, Suffolk County, an unconventional location for many artists. Ania shares that she moved to Suffolk at a young age and found a deep connection to the countryside and its wildlife. Growing up surrounded by nature and being taught about animals by her zoologist parents, Ania’s interest in portraying the natural world in her art was nurtured from an early age.

Ania explains that while Suffolk is her home base due to affordable studio rent, its proximity to London allows her to easily connect with other artists and exhibitions. However, she expresses a growing interest in moving to a bigger city where artistic opportunities are more accessible.

The Evolution of Ania’s Art

Vitello delves into Ania’s early impulses as an artist, specifically focusing on her initial inclination to sketch animals. Ania credits her parents’ zoology background and their upbringing in a rural village for fueling her interest in nature and wildlife. She vividly recalls spending hours sitting next to goats in the straw of their barn, observing the interplay of natural light. This early practice of drawing animals from life honed her quick mark-making skills, a technique she still employs today in her art.

While Ania started with animal drawings, her interest gradually shifted to human figures during her primary school years. As she became more aware of herself and the people around her, Ania developed a fascination with human interactions and body language. This interest was complemented by her own experience with hearing difficulties, which heightened her ability to read faces and reactions. Ania reflects on her school days, when she would draw characters and create comic strips based on her observations. This early passion for drawing and storytelling has subconsciously influenced her current work as a portrait artist.

Challenges and Triumphs in Ania’s Artistic Journey

Vitello’s interview also touches on Ania’s experience in art school and the impact it had on her artistic development. Ania shares that her university experience was not entirely positive, as her artistic vision clashed with the expectations of her tutors. Despite facing the prospect of failing her degree, Ania remained determined to stay true to her passion for portrait painting. This period of feeling misunderstood ultimately fueled her confidence and resolve to continue pursuing her artistic path.

After completing her university studies, Ania sought further training in portrait painting at the Florence Academy of Art in 2014. This experience proved transformative, immersing her in the beauty of Renaissance art and teaching her valuable technical skills. Ania fondly recalls the intense artistic environment in Florence and the exhilarating moments of visiting renowned galleries in the city. Winning prestigious awards and participating in competitions further boosted her confidence and propelled her career forward.

Choosing the Medium and Portraying Authenticity

Vitello inquires about Ania’s choice of medium and how it impacts her artistic vision. Ania reveals that she started with acrylics in college but found them limiting. It was during her university years that she discovered the expressive potential of oil paints, though she had to teach herself the techniques. Ania appreciates how oil paints give her the ability to add texture and dynamic brushstrokes to her work. Her focus on mark-making and capturing the essence of her subjects takes precedence over intricate details.

When it comes to working with subjects, Vitello asks Ania about her preference for live models versus photographs. Ania explains that although she has used both approaches, she previously considered drawing from life as the “rule” in painting. However, she eventually realized that using photographs allowed for more privacy and flexibility in her process. In recent times, Ania has returned to working directly from her sketchbook, finding freedom in her own artistic interpretations. She aims to evoke a dream-like quality in her figures, encouraging viewers to engage with their own interpretations and narratives.

The Artistic Journey Unfolds

The interview moves on to discuss Ania’s self-portraits and how she approaches painting herself. Ania reveals that she has been creating self-portraits since she can remember, initially focusing on faithfully capturing her own features. Over time, she has begun using herself as a model for general facial references, enabling her to experiment freely and creatively. Ania emphasizes that even when not intentionally creating a self-portrait, she often ends up being her own model.

Regarding Ania’s portrayal of fashion in her artwork, Vitello draws comparisons to historical painters and asks about the intention behind her choices. Ania explains that she selects clothing based on the painting’s color palette and the desired shapes it can create. The clothes not only complement the central focus of her portraits, the faces, but they also contribute to the overall composition and narrative.

The Influence of Inspirational Figures

Vitello prompts Ania to discuss her artistic influences and how they have shaped her work. Ania cites Lucian Freud and his mesmerizing brushstrokes as an early influence. She also mentions artists like Paula Rego, Alice Neel, and Kerry James Marshall, who have inspired her with their distinct styles and subject matter.

Art and Life Synthesis

Ania reflects on her studio space within Asylum Studios, located at the old American Air Base in Suffolk. Her studio occupies the converted interrogation room, which adds an intriguing story to her artistic process. Ania finds solace in working alone while enjoying the company of other artists in the shared space.

The Impact of the Pandemic

Vitello asks Ania about the effect of the pandemic on her work. Ania describes the initial delay of her show and the challenges of working from home. Despite the disruptions, she managed to focus on her vision and complete her body of work. Ania acknowledges the stress and uncertainty caused by the pandemic but also recognizes the opportunity it provided for introspection.

Future Exhibitions and Dreams

The interview concludes with Ania sharing her upcoming exhibitions in 2021, including a solo show with the Gillian Jason Gallery and a group show with Thompson’s Gallery in London. She expresses her dream of having a solo show in the United States.

Conclusion

Ania Hobson’s art captures the essence of both people and animals with an authenticity that invites viewers to engage with their own interpretations. Influenced by her rural upbringing and guided by her passion for figurative painting, Ania portrays women as empowered individuals who define their own narratives. Through her expressive brushwork and captivating compositions, Ania Hobson continues to captivate the art world with her unique artistic voice.

FAQs:

1. What inspired Ania Hobson’s interest in nature and wildlife?

From an early age, Ania was immersed in the world of nature and wildlife due to her parents’ zoology background and their rural village setting. This upbringing instilled a deep connection and curiosity about the natural world, which later became a significant influence in her art.

2. How did Ania’s university experience shape her artistic journey?

Ania’s university experience presented challenges as her artistic vision clashed with the expectations of her tutors. Despite the initial difficulties, this period strengthened her resolve to stay true to her passion for portrait painting and fueled her determination to forge her own artistic path.

3. What is the significance of clothing in Ania’s portraits?

For Ania, clothing plays a crucial role in her portraits, both aesthetically and narratively. She selects clothing that complements the desired color palette and helps create interesting shapes in her compositions. The fashion choices in her paintings reflect the empowered and assertive nature of her female subjects.

4. How has the pandemic affected Ania’s artistic process?

The pandemic initially caused delays and challenges for Ania, but it also provided an opportunity for introspection and focusing on her artistic vision. Despite the disruptions, Ania managed to complete her body of work and adapt to the changing circumstances, finding inspiration even in the midst of uncertainty.

5. What are Ania Hobson’s upcoming plans and aspirations?

Ania has several exhibitions lined up for 2021, including a solo show with the Gillian Jason Gallery and a group show with Thompson’s Gallery in London. Her dream is to have a solo show in the United States, further expanding her artistic reach and impact.