Studio Chat with
It was early on a Sunday morning that the VE crew headed out from Worcester to venture down south for a busy art-filled day running through the city. After a quick stop at Keigo's print shop in Brooklyn we bolted over the bridge through Lower Manhattan and down through the Holland Tunnel to end up in Jersey City. Luckily traffic wasn't terrible and we were running early. To our surprise our destination happened to be near a Krispy Kreme! A rarity in the doughnut breakfast world of New England. But that treat was only the beginning of the amazement we were about to see. Our destination was Ana Benaroya's studio. We walked around the corner to find a smiling Ana waiting to take us into where all the magic happens.
Travis and Ana talking art.
Q. How and when did you decide you wanted to pursue a career as an artist?
A. I always knew I wanted to be an artist since I was a little kid. Drawing was my main way of expressing myself and also a way to connect with other kids and make friends. I was a huge tomboy and was obsessed with cartoons and comics and would constantly copy from them. This was how I learned to draw the figure and I think you can still see traces of these early influences in my work today.
Q. What does your work mean to you and what does it represent?
A. Well, this is a very intense question to attempt to answer briefly haha...but here goes. My work as an artist is so tied up with how I view myself as a person - I think they are intertwined and therefore the work I make is a large part of my identity. I have a body but I think the paintings and drawings I make are also my body. Perhaps an unhealthy attachment, but I also think this is a core reason why I feel so compelled to keep making work. To me, my work represents an ability to imagine a world in which women's bodies have somehow escaped the restrictions and judgements that this world places upon them. They have evolved and continue to fluctuate between the masculine and the feminine, they are both seductive and grotesque. In the space of my work I also am trying to imagine a place in which lesbian desire exists and is no longer invisible. This desire is allowed to flourish and is at times carefree and gentle and at other times intense and overwhelming. It is for the characters in my work, but it is also for queer women who rarely get to experience this sort of depiction anywhere else in their day to day lives.
An interesting collection on Ana's window
Tools of the trade.
Q. When you wake up in the morning how do you decide what you want to create?
A. I am constantly thinking of painting and drawing ideas, they are always floating around in my head. And when I'm working on a painting I'm always thinking of what the next move should be. So it really depends where I am in the process of creating...whether I'm at the beginning, middle or end. I am quite structured in how I organize my time, I have a calendar I try to keep to and all. But when it comes to making my work it is quite the opposite - it's very intuitive. So there are lots of surprises usually - both good and bad.
Q. Are there any subjects or themes you are looking to experiment with in the future?
A.I think I just want to continue to explore and deepen the world I'm currently creating. It will evolve naturally, I just need to dedicate the time and focus to building it.
Q. What else is a part of your life and interests outside of the studio?
A. Listening to music is probably my other major interest outside of the studio - though it also blends into my work and studio life as well. But honestly, I am pretty boring and love to just relax and see friends and spend time with my girlfriend. When I'm not making art I do try to disconnect as much as possible from any sort of art related things and recharge my energies...with varying levels of success, haha.