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Art Talk | Anna-Wili Highfield

Art Talk | Anna-Wili Highfield

Today's Art Talk interview is extra special. We are such big fans of Anna-Wili Highfield's work - her originality and dedication to her art is truely inspiring. Anna-Wili started her career making sculptures independently for commission and has worked her way up to presenting solo exhibitions. Her latest exhibition, Spirit Faces was held earlier this year in New York at Olsen Gruin gallery and like all of her work, draws almost exclusively from the animal world, exploring the organic qualities and resistance of materials. We caught up with Anna-Wili to find out more about her artistic journey, the joy her work brings and the medium she loves to work with most.

 Anna-Wili Highfield at her  Spirit Faces  exhibition at  Olsen Gruin  gallery in New York. Photo -  Julie Healy

Anna-Wili Highfield at her Spirit Faces exhibition at Olsen Gruin gallery in New York. Photo - Julie Healy

Hi Anna-Wili, tell us a little about your artistic journey? I’ve always let the making process lead me. My work has developed through being prolific and having a continual relationship with my materials and ideas.

What’s your favourite medium to work with? It has traditionally been cotton rag paper that I tear and sew to create forms. But at the moment I’m feeling a radical artistic flare for using everything and anything I want to create sculpture, from velvet to shells, to plaster and jewels.

 A piece from the  Spirit Faces  exhibition at  Olsen Gruin  gallery in New York. Photo -  Julie Healy

A piece from the Spirit Faces exhibition at Olsen Gruin gallery in New York. Photo - Julie Healy

As an artist, what theme do you always return to? Nature and a shared consciousness and spiritual relationship with the animal world.

“I never really design anything. I just start making and see what happens. This is how my best work appears, by being open to changes and chance through making.”
 A piece from the  Spirit Faces  exhibition at  Olsen Gruin  gallery in New York. Photo -  Julie Healy

A piece from the Spirit Faces exhibition at Olsen Gruin gallery in New York. Photo - Julie Healy

What do you love most about what you do? The feeling of extending yourself into another form and medium.

Your work features animals heavily – why are you so drawn to them? I always feel that they are a more immediate reflection of feeling and character. Like a portrait or self portrait without biography. I think there is just a language barrier between us and other life forms.

 Anna-Wili Highfield at her  Spirit Faces  exhibition at  Olsen Gruin  gallery in New York. Photo -  Julie Healy

Anna-Wili Highfield at her Spirit Faces exhibition at Olsen Gruin gallery in New York. Photo - Julie Healy

“What am I most passionate about? Truth and beauty.”
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Where do you go for inspiration? Music, art, architecture, materials and nature.

What are you looking forward to in 2018? Travel and studio time.

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FULL STOP


I usually wake up at: The last possible moment.

My perfect day would involve: Swimming, dancing and studio time.

I am inspired by: Form.

Best advice I’ve ever received: When inspiration strikes let it find you working.

I couldn’t live without: Family and my work.

My favourite daily ritual: A bath.

I recently discovered: Istanbul.

On my wish-list: Public art.

I’m currently reading: History.

And listening to: Glassworks.

My guilty pleasure: Sleeping in.

My mantra is: Put my best into everything. 


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