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Simplicity and Seriousness in my art

Have you ever put on a dress that felt just right on your body? Like it was made to measure. Or a pair of shoes that kissed your feet?

The night I started painting was a crazy one. It was 2018. I was in a tumultuos relationship. In love, for the first time in years. He was an addict, sometimes recovering, sometimes full on crazy. That night he had been to a party. When he returned home, he had pockets full of illegal substances, so we stayed up late. Talking, smoking and dancing. Around 2 in the morning he felt creative. He painted as a hobby, and had a full supply of paints and brushes in the flat. I watched him for a while, then got bored and decided to try it out for myself. And something stange and magical happened. Time evaporated. I painted his face on an old canvas. I had absolutely no technique, but found that tiny little brushstrokes somehow created a recognizable image anyway. When morning came I was still emerged. Slow jazz was playing on the radio, and it was like a dance between the paint and the movement of my hand. I couldn´t paint back then. I really couldn´t. But from that night I spent a lot of time getting better. Every free hour, sometimes calling in sick at work, just so I could paint.

Within 4 months I had enough paintings to exhibit at a local bar. When I look back at some of those paintings now it makes me cringe. But back then I was proud and totally in love with this new world of art I had stumbled upon.

And since then I have exhibited a lot. The first couple of years everywhere I could. Librarys. Retirement homes. Office buildings. Bundling too many paintings into the back of my tiny car, climbing ladders, wrapping and unwrapping bubble foil. The game changer for me was social media. I have a love affair with my computer, and when I realised how many opportunities were out there via platforms like instagram or online art magazines, it kind of upped the ante.

These days I have become an art snob according to my ex-boyfriend. I use expensive paints and no longer exhibit mindlessly, unless its a good gallery that will create a sale or look impressive on my CV. And I guess it´s true. I am way more ambitious than I was a few years ago. I sell a fair bit. People seem to like the simplicity in my work. Some find it amusing. ”What a fun piece.” Quite strange actually, because I am extremely serious when I paint. The motif almost always stems from emotions or situations in my life that are troublesome. Like the painting ”Die Asta”. I was trying to paint womanhood. Or my experience of being a woman anyway. The difficult dance it sometimes is. And how being true to yourself can sometimes be hard, when there are so many roles to fill. Wife. Mother. Seductress. Employee. Cook. Beauty Queen. Strong independt woman. You fill out the blanks.

I called it ”Die Asta” because I recently visited Berlin. It rained the entire time, but walking the streets there I felt free. Empowered somehow. There was so much art. Such a great vibe. And I came back armed with colours and a vague idea that turned into ”Die Asta.”

Some day it will probably hang in someones living room. Either because it matches the decor or someone finds it beautiful or amusing. Much like a woman, a cynic might say. And I guess that is the beauty of art and life. It really is in the eye of the beholder.

Annette Mahoney

Instagram: @galleri_mahoney

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