So today being Saturday is a very appropriate day to introduce the first post in my ‘Saturday Spotlight on…’ series for my humble little blog. I thought I would kick it off with the personality that I guess is the catalyst for the series – that would be one Anna Mulcahy. The series being; regular Saturday posts on emerging and established design and artistic talent that has caught my eye, inspired me, made me laugh, made me cry and whom I believe in as a talent and as a story to tell and share to a wider audience. I hope you enjoy reading, discovering, perhaps revisiting and by all means leave a comment and let me know you’ve stopped by.
I first met Anna Mulcahy a few years ago now, when she came in to Maple Homewares in Balwyn. Anna had brought some of her gorgeous Collage Crosses in to Maple, hoping to get her pieces in to some of the local homewares stores. Anna is such a genuine, humble, warm person, and you know straight up that there is no BS – so refreshing. She is a terrible salesperson though (and she won’t mind me saying that, she’d say it herself), you know she lives to paint and the thought of people paying for her passion I think, initially may have been a little challenging for her to comprehend. She’s getting better at it.
Anna is one hell of a talented lady, creating detailed hand-made paper and mixed media collages. She also creates dreamy, exotic backdrops for her collages and gorgeous detailed drawings. Over time I have seen the changes in Anna’s work as she gains more confidence in her own abilities, and belief in herself as a ‘fully fledged’ artist. Needless to say Anna’s work is now represented in some of Melbourne’s most popular homewares stores; namely Maple Homewares in Balwyn, Fenton and Fenton in Prahran, Curious Grace in Yarraville, Montebello Emporium and Sissy in Mt Eliza (about an hours drive from Melbourne). Anna’s work is so bright and colourful, I find myself drawn to every one of her pieces. Her pieces evoke images of faraway places, places we’d love to go to but for whatever reason can’t quite get there. It’s no surprise then than Anna draws much of her inspiration from past travels across Egypt, Israel and Morocco. I’ve seen Anna’s pieces in homes (mine included) take centre stage, they are so rich in their exotic palette and imagery that they bring a space to life and can do justice to the family that lives there. Anna’s passion seeps through her pieces and in to the homes fortunate enough to have invested in her talent.
Anna Mulcahy and ‘Azraq’ at Curious Grace in Yarraville
Anna, tell us about yourself. Did you always want to be an artist, and what led you to where you are today?
I was always good at Art but it wasn’t encouraged in a house full of professionals, therefore it was thought of by myself and my parents as more of a hobby. 20 years ago I painted my first piece and an interior decorator friend of mine saw it and sold it to her client for $500.00 unframed! So my art career began. Twenty years later I have managed to paint full time and as a single mum it has been a fantastic career as I could be at home for my babies.
Both your paper art and paintings are certainly gaining popularity. Is there a particular medium you prefer?
I love mixing it up. I paint abstract designs in acrylic paint and turn it into collages at the moment as they have been particularly popular.
How would you describe your artwork?
I would describe my art as global, colourful and very happy.
‘Emerald City’ looking right at home amongst the eclectic mix of home wares at Fenton and Fenton in Prahran.
Do you have an idea of what you are going to paint from the outset, or do some pieces unravel once you start putting brush to canvas.?
I have a pretty good idea before I start especially with collages as they have to be measured with precision although I often end up with a totally different piece than what was in my head to start with!
‘Aztec Rose’, ‘Aztec Blue’, and below collage crosses – highlighting the precision in spatial arrangement and preparation that’s required.
What does a typical day involve for you?
No such thing as a typical day! I paint when the creative urge hits which luckily is all the time. Sometimes 9 -5pm sometimes 9pm – 3am. I just go with it and have an Anna nap if I need too.
Anna at her studio in Glen Iris, painting the finishing touches to ‘Colonel Haiti’.
Top 5 resources for inspiration.
1. Travelling especially the Middle East
2. Everyday objects. A pretty outfit to a walk with the dog.
3. Interior and fashion trends
4. My mood
5. Doodling and playing with paints
Which other local artists, designers or creative people are you liking at moment.
What are you looking forward to?
I look forward to more travel now the children are older. Morocco, Spain and Portugal are high on the wish list
Favourite place to shop and eat in Melbourne?
Homewares: Maple. Curious Grace. Fenton & Fenton and SISSY in Mt. Eliza
Clothes- I buy it if I love it and it doesn’t matter where it’s from.
Restaurant – Amigos with the kids The Smith with friends Cafe Cucina or Stoke House for romantic dinner
Above – Anna’s ‘Persian Pink, ‘Emerald Medina’ and ‘Spanish Sunset’ and Jai Vasicek’s crosses (below) at one of Anna’s favourite stores (and mine), Maple Homewares in Balwyn
What are 5 things most people don’t know about Anna Mulcahy?
There is nothing people don’t know about me. Pretty much an open book. I’m an optimist and passionate and I think very funny too, although my kids may disagree! I love my partner, kids and friends and am at my happiest painting. A huge thank you Anna, for your time and for your ability to inject our homes with so much life and colour. Lisa xx
‘Wasi Desert’ and a gorgeous elephant collage – showcasing the extent of Anna’s creative talents.