German-based artist Anna Mond joins me for a quick interview on the surrealist champions of her work, the “Fantastical Beings”. When we take a look at Anna’s work, we are struck by a sense of familiarity. There are things we quite obviously recognise: people, animals, plants. But they are shaped differently, move differently. They melt into a viscous pudding of colours with lickable textures. These characters comprise the altered reality of Anna’s painted world. Look closer and you’ll see it brought to life: clouds vomiting rainbows, chickens with teeth, toadstools riding bicycles in a re-adapted version of The Shining.
Creativity is chaos and order at once.
There are animal parties and canine cosmonauts and the almighty Ziggy Stardust with blood-red hair. It’s mania, freedom, and lots of fun. Some characters might make you smile or laugh or cry or scream – that’s the magic of Anna’s work – you never quite know where her rabbit hole will take you. But we’re learning to be alright with that. Anna’s the storyteller, we’re only the starry-eyed readers of her boundless fable. Join me in this exclusive interview with Anna, speaking mostly on her everyday life but also on the soulful value of keeping her approach to art (and its personal meaning) curtained behind mystery, intrigue and chaos.
I live through the most interesting things of my imagination.
Exclusive Interview with Anna Mond
Hey Anna, please introduce yourself to our readers.
I’m Anna Mond. I was born in 1982 and I am the Mother of Fantastical Beings. I move around a lot but currently live in Germany.
How are you coping in the maddening world of 2022? Describe your daily routine – the day-in-the-life of Anna.
Last couple of years have been rather challenging, but I guess it could have been worse. I’m not so much into sharing personal aspects of my life, and I know that no matter what happens in the world, my Beings are living in their own world. And when I’m creating them, I’m part of that world as well. Work is my fantastical vacuum, or a capsule, cruising through the cosmos.
I’m very disciplined. I wake up early, make my coffee and answer questions on Instagram, and regardless of the mood I’m in, I begin to paint. The earlier in the morning, the better because I prefer to use natural light. This helps me to avoid colour transfiguration and to create the exact tones I’m after. The colours, and their combination, are often more important than the subject of the painting. I try to finish by midday, and after a quick lunch, I’m on social media – answering questions, talking to fans. My evenings are dreamy. It’s that time of the day when I imagine what I shall paint next. Quite a boring lifestyle, or so it may seem from the outside, but not to me. I live through the most interesting things of my imagination.
Talk us through your creations, the “Fantastical Beings”. How did they originate?
At the least comfortable moment of my life, the Beings came down from above and we met.
Do you think it’s challenging for artists to stay authentic and/or dedicated to their own truths?
If you’re a true artist, not at all. It’s easier to be yourself than not, and if you’re doing it in the name of art, and not because it’s a fad of the moment or it sounds cool, you can’t go wrong.
Where do chaos and imperfection fit into your creativity?
Creativity is chaos and order at once. Imperfections in art must exist as they do in life, and perhaps they’re the most important aspects of art…if there’s rigid personal structure on the ground of which they appear random and whimsical.
Your more recent work has featured animalistic creatures (horses, crocodiles, polar bears etc.). What sparked this interest in the animal kingdom?
Work is periodical, and perhaps now this is what I’m working with – not humans directly. I’m not asking the universe what to paint. If it’s animals now…let it be a secret why.
How would you define the word “evolution”?
Evolution = controlled chaos, perhaps from above.
List some songs you’d include on your imaginary playlist
I listen to all kinds of music, from classical to Erzgebirgische Weinachten Kinder Chor songs – all depends on the mood. If I feel somewhat uncertain, I have my three go-tos, absolutely monumental artists – Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and Elvis. Exactly in this order.
What valuable lessons have you gained from folklore and fairytale?
All important life lessons come from fairytales. When I was a child I collected children’s fairytales, but I moved a lot in my life and most of the books didn’t survive. But now, again, I collect fairytale books and pay special attention to illustrated books.
You seem to be a film buff. What kind of cinéma makes you tick?
Horror. End of story.
Name one tool in your art pantry that you can’t live without.
Water. Water. Water. A lot of water. If it doesn’t flow, nothing will happen.
What techniques do you use to achieve the “melty” effect unique to your paintings?
Sorry, secret family recipe. But seriously, it’s not so different from mixing dough ingredients or cooking a stew.
Describe your studio!
I’m a very home-oriented person. My home is my studio. From the moment I envision the subject in the evening, in order to avoid any influence from the outside world, I don’t leave the house until it’s materialized on canvas. And I love working surrounded by my flowers, familiar smells and sounds of the apartment.
What are your goals or plans for the rest of 2022?
To keep painting is the main goal. I adjust to whatever happens to maintain my painting schedule, and if I can continue to paint that’s just absolutely wonderful.