Artist. Writer. Educator. Community Entrepreneur.
In her early years, she continued to live vicariously through those around her, her light starving to pulsate through. An inner compass, guiding her in a direction that she hadn’t explored before caused her at 30 years old, to fearlessly walk away from a life she had always known. An unknown path to realizing the lioness power within herself. And so the journey of her yearning heart began. From traveling the highs and lows of Europe, living adventurously in a trailer park and treading the road of a “striving artist” in her quaint studio in Oakland, California. Through this uncharted path of self-discovery, she realized, “I’m the answer to all of my questions.”
“No more middle of the road. You either love me or hate me. I tolerated nothing in between”
A conversation with Anna.
What is your personal mission?
A: My personal mission is to first and foremost be true to myself because I feel I have some form of destiny engraved inside of me and my personal mission is to start with the authenticity that is myself and then to be able to create some sort of space for others to be able to do that but bring it into the world.
What is your creative process? Where do you find/create inspiration?
A: This is a really big deal for me. I’ve never been to art school and I don’t look at other artists, I don’t listen to other writers or poetry. Poetry is my first language. But, also visual art. I’m a visual artist. I must be original. I didn’t go to art school. Would I have liked to? Yes. But, I hear people that go to art school, it takes them 1-2 years for them to find their own originality again. So, I’m self-taught so it’s a slow process. But, being original and authentic is important to me as an artist. I don’t believe all originality has been done. I don’t believe that. I feel like people who do feel like art is dead, everything that has been created has already been created, I feel that they must not be original then.
M: It seems as though everything is inspired by something else.
A: I’m influenced. But the things that I’m influenced by I make it very clear. Like, “that it is a direct influence” or “that is a reference right there!” So, I’m influenced but I don’t look for inspiration. It comes through me. I always hear creators say that.
Advice to someone going through a creative/inspiration block?
A: Okay, we have to free ourselves from all expectations. I know that’s super hard. I’m super big on free writing on a regular basis but that also applies to anything we’re doing. We need some sort of fun. If we’re sewing- involved in fashion design, play around with materials and make things that aren’t going to become anything. I think that is important to remember while going through the block. I think it’s all pressure. Blocks are created by pressure.
M: So, it’s self-imposed almost?
A: Yes, it’s a pressure to perform. There’s a discipline that people that have. I sketch every morning. So, you sketch every morning and that helps release something or you can free write every morning to release the pressure to perform. I think to myself, it’s going in my sketchbook and it’s going to become nothing. There’s something about that, that helps. It doesn’t eliminate it.
M: Okay, so it doesn’t have to be perfect. Creating for the simple idea of creating. Gotcha.
Who in your life inspires you the most and why?
A: In my life?
A: Alright, I’m going to give this one to Cristy Corso! And I’m wearing her shirt right now and she’s in South by Southwest right now but she moves BOLDLY. She moves BOLDLY through this world. She’s a beautiful woman. And she is completely art driven. She won’t accept projects unless it has something to do with art, something creative and something bigger picture. I love how true she stays to her vision. A lot of artists end up in advertising or something. She’s completely true to it. Always looking for live painting gigs or other ways to advance.
M: She moves BOLDLY. I love that.
If you had a year to live, what would you achieve in the next 12 months?
A: I would just create art. I would forget about money completely and any business ventures. I would probably create a lot of art and since it’s such a short amount of time, I may not be so interested in my Entrepreneurship goals because those are more long term. and not intuitive for me. That’s a learned process. But I know so much because I’ve been learning for so long on that. If it was only 1 year, I would definitely create art. Or writing. Art and writing.
M: You’re honing into your passion and thinking, “Hey I only have a year to live, might as well do what I love.”
A: Exactly. That’s my legacy to leave behind that people can look at. I don’t have push it out there because that’s not what I’m doing. I’m just doing this and whoever finds it when I’m gone, and whoever likes it. That’s it. I wouldn’t mind so much if no one found it because I would know that I’m making it. I’m in the process.
M: That’s beautiful!
What terrifies you the most?
A: Okay, I’ve gotten over my fear of failure. But, I feel like humiliation. Being misunderstood. I think humiliation and being misunderstood is my biggest fear. To put something out there and for it to be interpreted like something unworthy, for something not to connect. Because when I’m creating, it’s like a gift. It’s something to have some sort of interaction or feedback from. More impact in a way. To feel something from a painting, to have some sort of interaction or experience with it. So, for it to be misunderstood, overlooked, vilified, mocked, humiliated, made trivial or trite. I can’t find the words for it but it has something to do with being misunderstood.
M: So, almost that it’s lacking depth?
A: Yeah … something that is overly criticized … being misrepresented.
Based on the artists/creators that you’ve talked to, do you feel that they share some of the same fears?
A: I don’t know. But I’ve felt that way as a person. As a person, I don’t like being misunderstood/misrepresented. I feel that I spend a lot of time correcting when I need to just move through it. Not to live through that fear but to get over it. To accept it, So what? Humiliation is my responsibility and my choice. But, to be misunderstood that’s something that is going to happen that I have no control over. That’s something going happen either way. So, I’ve gotten more LA in my approach.
M: mmm gotcha! I like that, more LA! Yes, people are going to perceive things based on what’s going on internally with that person.
A: Yes! But hey, it does help me step it up. A LOT. I learn a lot from the L.A style when it comes to communicating.
When it’s all said and done, what do you think people would say about how you moved through life?
A: Hopefully inspired, free thinker, lived freely. It’s very important to me that I only created my own, boundaries and limitations. Meaning, my own limitations are my own responsibility to overcome. I would say, living freely … something along the lines of that. That I’m a free thinker, I did it my own way. But I don’t want it to be just about me. I feel that I set a good example but most importantly I feel that I’m clearing a path for myself and hopefully the way I live my life, can inspire someone else to live their lives true for themselves as well.
M: You already have! Look at what you’ve done for me. It’s truly amazing.
A: Thank you so much.
Last question, what has been your greatest discovery so far?
A: Okay, putting myself on the outside what was always on the inside has been the scariest and the greatest thing I can do. I would challenge everyone to show themselves. We get less approval when we show ourselves. That is something that has taken a lot of time and a lot of bravery. Even down to being permanently inked in some ways, it’s just one thing but a part of it is coming to the outside, unapologetically. Just doing what I want. Alright, I’m going to tell you my phrase and I used tell myself this when I started this bold journey and realized I’m a people pleaser and it’s okay. But, I felt like a golden retriever than the lion I knew I was inside. As I progressed in this journey from that recognition and started taking bold steps. I wholeheartedly believe we must be selfish first in order to serve others. You can be Christian and say love your neighbors as yourself. Well, you have to LOVE yourself a heck of a lot if you’re going to love your neighbor as equally. So, we serve others the best when we take care of ourselves first. Even though I’m a late bloomer and I took a long time to truly find myself and dig deep and bring it out into the light, some things don’t want to be out in the light and they want to go back in the shadows. Fine, stay there. But, there’s some things that boldly moved and found their place out in the light and through that I can now step out. I’m learning how to step out and serve other people, or connect to other people in a deeper way. But, my saying to myself was, “I’m going to do whatever I want, whenever I want, however I want and why ever I want” I did this for years. At least for 2-3 years. Maybe more, maybe less.
M: How recent was that realization?
A: It was at the beginning of my journey. I repeated that to myself, it wasn’t an imposed mantra. It was just like, “don’t forget, do whatever you want, and I mean ANYTHING I wanted to do” I wanted to do it? It must be right. I just followed my intuition, I followed my life path and all of those things. It helped me become bolder in my interactions with others. My life journey, the path I went on. Things I sought … I don’t say it anymore. I don’t live by that anymore because I don’t need to do whatever I want. I am doing it. I’ve done the work. It’s almost like I’ve bloomed in a way. Now it’s a different job, I have to do. To root down and grow, I needed to do that first. Like, in the runaway bride, just like Julia Roberts in that movie. She didn’t know what kind of eggs she liked, she kept making the eggs for her man and she never truly knew what she liked. So, that was really my journey. To find out what I truly like and to find out who I truly was.
After an explorative conversation over a few cups of coffee at Pour (coffee shop), a few days later we decided to take some photos downtown. These photos, exemplifying an element of her personality. I hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed taking them. As always – thank you for reading.
“We all have an internal device that tells us where to go. That’s what your parents have done for you, that’s what god has given you. That’s what we go into this world with. We have internally built something that guides us naturally”
– Anna K.
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