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Get to Know | Anne Steves

Anne Steves (BFA 2007) is a Welsh-Canadian visual artist currently based in Cumberland. Anne’s practice is site-based and influenced by her experiences as an immigrant. She examines the act of being “in residence” through her work. Anne’s explorations begin with a period of research into local landscapes and develop into serial works that test limitations of knowing somewhere new. Her work is intimate and curious. For more of Anne’s work, visit her website or follow her on Instagram.

Featured image is Anne in the studio. Provided courtesy of the artist.

Who are you and what do you do?

I am Anne Steves, a Welsh/Canadian visual artist currently living on Vancouver Island in the village of Cumberland. I graduated from Emily Carr University with a BFA in 2007 and went on to do my MFA at UVIC in 2012.

Describe your current practice in three words.

Place. Distance. Hand-made.

What are you most excited about in your work right now?

Considering the ways that residencies can create community and the disturbance of distance in rural art practice.

A-Luring Object(s), multiple sites; pictured: Red River, 2015-current. Image courtesy of the artist.
What do you wish you learned in school but didn’t?

I wish I had known how important professional practice would be; writing grants, applications, documenting work, websites, social media, etc. It is constant. Everything else can be researched in some other way but learning how much work needs to be put into maintaining an artistic practice was a slow process for me. Maybe I would have paid more attention in that class if I had been told how integral it would be.

Name one thing in your practice that you can’t do without?

Time. If you can’t carve out the time to delve deeply into what you are interested in then the work just never seems to get to the rewarding place.

How has your practice evolved since graduating?

I was primarily working as a studio artist throughout my education first in painting and drawing at ECU and then through textiles at UVIC. Once I graduated the themes around place that I was working with seemed to fit more closely in art residency opportunities than studio to exhibition. This transition and the experiences and communities that have resulted from it have changed how I think about my work. I now often work site-specifically. When I am in the studio, the themes I am working with involve this distance from community that a semi-rural studio creates.

A-Luring Object(s), multiple sites; pictured: Lake Ontario, 2015-current. Image courtesy of the artist.
What led you to study at Emily Carr?

When I first moved to Canada with my family at seventeen, we came to BC. I fell in love with the campus and atmosphere on Granville Island as well as the amazing information catalogues they handed out to prospective students at the time that included famous alumni interviews.

Were there any professors or classes that influenced you?

Diyan Achjadi in Printmaking always encouraged my interest in print forms over print technique. Also, Rick Williams in Drawing kept me pushing my own boundaries, I think I took three of his classes.

What advice do you have for new graduates or incoming foundation students?

Stay strong. It isn’t always going to be easy, but neither is the world outside of Emily Carr. Believe in what you are doing without shutting out the critiques of others. Learn whose opinions you respect, not because they align with your own, but because they are working with you.

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