Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I live in Rockland, Maine. I moved to Maine after graduating from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2013 for my BFA, thinking I’d be here for about a year – but I’ve fully settled in here. I kept thinking I’d leave to go get my MFA, but have found a great community and lots of opportunities here. I’ve also done a steady amount of residencies to keep myself pushing.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
I had the opportunity to take ceramics in high school and fell in love with making objects. I always liked art before that, but had never connected like I did when I started in with clay.
What do you like most about working where you do?
The town I live in is right between mountains and the ocean, the landscape is great and most importantly space is abundant – outdoors or indoors there’s a lot of room for opportunity to utilize it.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
In the past my work has been more formal, materially concerned sculpture. I’ve grown pretty bored of this and have been working on ways to combine my conceptual interests with sculpture. Recently I’ve been setting up a control of some kind and then letting an outside influence surprise me and change what’s going on. I made a video recently that’s a sculptural setup outside in the snow – it falls over because of wind half way through – these little funny moments of unexpectedness interest me. It’s a feeling that I get really excited about in everyday life when I come across specific things, so I’m trying to recreate that in a vacuum for a viewer.
What is your process like?
My process is mostly play – rearranging objects, taking photos, filming clips of video. I read and research and look at art, but those things don’t usually show their influence until I’ve already made something and am looking back at it. I work really quickly, trying to complete something before I find it too stupid and talk myself out of it.
What is your favorite material to work with, and why?
Rockite is this super fine concrete powder. I use it all the time because it casts beautifully and with great detail. It’s a nice medium gray and can be super thin and still really strong. I’ve made a few pieces with it where I set the powder outside in the snow – when the snow falls on it, it activates the Rockite and casts the texture of the falling snow. I love this ability for a material to record something so fleeting with such detail.
What is the last thing you read?
Currently reading Lolita for the first time, the way it’s written is actual so humorous I’m really enjoying it.
What are you passionate about?
Other than art, I play soccer quite a bit, depending on the time year I really like ice skating, hiking, swimming in the ocean.
Is there any subject or theme you’ve been particularly interested in lately?
I’ve been into Ryan Gander’s work for a while now, but recently he publicized an archive of his work that hadn’t been shown previously. I’ve been going through that in my spare time. His ability to play with material and concept while staying completely genuine is everything.
What is the most surprising response you’ve received about your work from someone?
I love when someone laughs at my work.
How do you spend your time when you’re not making work?
Right now I’m having a house built, so that’s taken up a ton of my time for the past year or so. In a way it kind of feels like a giant sculpture – I get to choose materials, work on design, etc.
How has your work evolved over the last few years?
A big shift in my practice has been about finding the best way for a work to end up – sculpture, photo, video or combination of these.
Do you have a day job or other work that you split your time between?
I work at an art gallery and also run a project space with two of my best friends (it’s currently in Portland, ME) so I’m kind of all art all the time. The gallery I work for is pretty commercial so I use one part of my art brain there to put together shows that will have a return, the project space, SISTERED, is completely opposite – we call it a process platform and want people to be trying new things and putting themselves out there in a way that they can’t in a traditional art setting. Curating and producing other people’s projects has been a lot more additive to my practice than I ever thought. It’s incredibly motivating.
Is there any piece of advice you would offer to others?
Don’t overthink things
What does it mean to you to have a “community?”
I have a great group of artists that I can talk through things with and whose work I feel a kinship too. I think having those people around (whether physically or remotely) is crucial to staying grounded in what you’re truly interested in.
What is your studio like?
I just finished a residency program that provided a huge amazing studio in an old school building here in Rockland. I’m currently building a house that has a studio in it – construction should be completed in about 6-8 weeks if everything falls into place. So I’m in between spaces for a bit, which will be good to decompress and do some future planning.
How significant has attending art school been on your practice?
At this point in my career I’m not interested in getting an MFA. I feel like I’ve made a strong effort to continually challenge myself, create relationships, get feedback from people, and show my work. I think learning to do this on your own is invaluable. That being said, things may be different for me if I hadn’t gone to such a strenuous undergrad program. MICA set me up super well to be doing what I’m doing.
How would you define “success” in art?
I’d like to make and show work for the rest of my life, I think sustaining a practice is a huge success.
Are you involved in any collaborative or self-organized projects?
SISTERED is a collective of myself, Justine Kablack and Izabel Nielsen. We began last fall by subletting a space in Portland hosting performances, dinners, exhibitions, and more. In the future we’ll be planning things at other spaces in the area.
Find more at annafqueen.com and on Instagram @annafqueen!
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