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Last month Art Bureau interviewed about Anna Leyland, a contemporary New Zealand artist with a growing following across the country, highlighting Anna’s works and commissions.
Anna creates giclee prints and metallic foil screen prints from original, hand-painted canvases with beautiful precision and composition. Her works celebrate the beauty of what she sees around her and the multiculturalism of Aotearoa, through captivating pattern and symbolism.
Earlier this year Anna participated in Auckland’s Big Hoot charity fundraiser, designing one of the giant owls for the Big Hoot Art Trail on Auckland streets. She has exhibited in over 30 Art Exhibitions since 2001, and completed stunning commissions for Nespresso, Orcon, Auckland City Council and most recently Sofitel Queenstown.
As Anna tells it, “I’ve always had a passion for being an artist - drawing, painting and creating daily from the age of two according to my mum! I’ve had major health issues all my life and in my childhood, my mum would give me different activities to keep me busy - this definitely fuelled my passion for creativity! I continued art right through school completing a Bachelor of Design Degree in Visual Communication at Unitec. And I continued painting, primarily oil portraits, alongside working as a freelance Graphic Designer.
“After the birth of my son in 2006 I went back to study and became a Secondary School Design and Art Teacher. Then in 2011 - I guess you could call it an epiphany - where I made the (difficult!) decision to follow my heart, my passion and dream of being a full-time Artist.”
Anna also explained how her design background has greatly influenced her style, and although many believe her works are digital illustrations; they are original, hand-painted canvases. She enjoys setting herself the challenge in such a technological age of creating something hands-on, visually impacting and geometrically technical using old-school methods of tape, rulers and hundreds of tiny measurements.
She also references the traditional method of creating Melanesian Tapa cloths by
handpainting her patterns; Fijian, Wallisian and Futunaan Tapa were all handpainted with beautiful, symmetrical intricacy.
Anna’s style is culturally diverse, incorporating symbols and patterns from many different cultures which are directly influenced by the multicultural heritage of her and her son; Fijian, Wallisian, Futunaan, Scottish, Hungarian, English and Kiwi.