Artists in Their Studios: In the Now with Ann Dunbar

Paris, France

WHAT IS YOUR WORK ABOUT:

My art responds to first-hand experiences of beautiful places in the natural world both near and far-away. With a romantic and personal approach, I use my own unique technique of combining free-hand embroidery to my original water colour. 

 My intention is to communicate the aesthetic senses, to tap the inner soul within us in order to draw out certain memories, dreams and captured moments of happiness. The final work of art transcends a feeling of serenity together with an uplifting emotion.

DO YOU HAVE A STUDIO ROUTINE?

Each day is different but it is planned ahead. I use a list system, writing my daily tasks in a book with the priority jobs that are on top of the list to the less important ones on the bottom. I tick them off, as and when they are complete. I like each day to have a different activity, but they always start with reading and replying to emails and posting on social media every morning after breakfast. At the end of each day, I look back to what I have accomplished and write any new jobs as when then come to my attention. When I am working towards an exhibition, particularly a solo show, I work every day in my studio to complete the work, and then do all the administrative things connected to it with check list and deadline date. It seems to work for me and everything on target.

HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC AFFECTED YOUR ART PRACTICE?

The affect of the lockdown has resulted in my having much more time to do the jobs that were put aside for a while, such as re- organising and re designing a more responsive website. It give me time to think and reflect on how I could restructure my art career and practice using digital tools for effective organisation and consolidating skills needed strengthen my independence with using online promotions .With the cancellation of art fairs and physical shows, I appreciated the need for more virtual communication to my audience and thanks to Art @ NXT level, I was able to achieve my goals in all the aspects mentioned. The pandemic was a shock and felt paralysed for the first two weeks of total lock down; however, by keeping positive and busy with being inspired by our lovely garden, I have produced some amazing collections that I am proud of.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST REWARD, MEMORY OR ACCOMPLISHMENT OR PROUD MOMENT AS AN ARTIST?

I have had quite a few amazing accomplishments in my 38 years as a professional artist. I received my first corporate order of ten paintings from my web site which were bound for Japan. I was one of the lucky ones to have a website in the late 1990’s, thanks to my gifted husband who put it online with AOL, the down loading of images took such a long time but in the end, I received many contacts and opportunities through it. Another amazing experience that comes to my mind was to have a piece bought by a real HRH princess in my first solo show in Paris (2013) also another sold to a well known opera singer in London at my first solo show there.(1996). A proud moment was to taken on by G1C Gallery (UK) 15 artworks sold to a private corporate client last year and with Shoalhaven Fine Art Gallery (Australia) both wonderful representatives who love my art and believe in me. They work so hard and do an awesome job to promote. 

I have to report a unique heartfelt experience when an elegant lady came to visit my solo show in Paris. She at first appeared to be excited but in a trance whilst looking at my art, she asked if I did the work and when I nodded, she ran out of the gallery in haste. I was a bit surprised and wondered if I had upset her, however she came back next day, armed with presents. Apparently, she was a freelance writer and my work had inspired and uplifted her emotions, so much so, she had written a journal full of poems and prose about how she felt. Her response was so over-whelming; she hugged me and told me to carry on making magic through my art. What an encouragement that was. I touched someone’s soul and that in itself it the best gift and reward ever.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU MUST HAVE IN YOUR STUDIO?

The most important item for the creation of my art is a big table with my sewing machine on it. As you will see in the photo in my studio, a lot of table space is needed for support and ease of movement. A table is a good sold base on which to spread out whatever you are working on and it is just at the right height to be able to see the paint flow, and also as the paper moves around whilst embroidering.

WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR FUTURE SELF ABOUT BEING AN ARTIST RIGHT NOW

In this day and age, it is the best time to be an independent artist? They are so many incredible digital tools available to help one manage and organise effectively, many of which are freely available on you tube and other websites.  I would tell myself to do a business course according to today’s needs and circumstances. As we are moving towards a virtual rather than physical existence, we need to re adapt our skills of communication and business management online or digitally. This is why I joined art Nxt level and other coaching platforms and courses. I have to this day, four coaches who still sustain my need for professional guidance.

HOW HAS THE ART NEXT LEVEL ACADEMY IMPROVED YOUR ART CAREER?

The Academy has helped me in leaps and bounds. Where do I start? I joined because I needed to learn how to manage my art career with digital tools and to learn how to communicate and find my audience, learn and sales and marketing online. Sergio and Dr Yanina are both dedicated and passionate people who care and love what they do and that is to help artists to be professional and successful artists. I have learned and achieved these things on their course so far:

Find my audience, build my brand, how to do a newsletter, build an email list, how to sell and promote online, (made seven sales online from my website in June based on artist challenge pledge), have a responsive website, how to use, build and grow your audience on social media, how to be productive without burn out, Use Instagram in a fun way, how to communicate to my audience both through emails and SM. How to do a virtual gallery (Still in progress), and last but not least make videos.

WHAT IS THE BEST ART CAREER ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED

Believe in yourself and never give up your dream. Learn how to sell and talk to strangers. Keep a journal of your daily tasks, record everything.

ARTIST LINKS

Instagram: @anndunbarart

Facebook Page: @anndunbarmixedmedia

www.anndunbarart.com

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