ADO Welcomes Anissa Banchik Siegel, 12/9/19

Q: How long have you been painting?

A: I started drawing and painting as a child spending some of my favorite times in art classes. In high school I focused primarily on paint, but also fell in love with photography. I spent a majority of my free time  at school in the studio or darkroom. When I turned down an acceptance into a college art program, I thought I had closed a chapter in my life. At age 17, the thought of my own art studio in college was too daunting. I took a few art classes in college, but began focusing on my life as a psychotherapist, educational therapist, wife and mother of 3. After 20 years, give or take, I listened to my gut, and headed back into the studio and I haven’t wanted to leave since.

Q: Who are some of your greatest influences?

 A: That’s the toughest question. At different times in my life, different artists and styles have spoken to me.  I will always be inspired by Georgia O’Keefe, her use of color, sensuality, and mood. I love the architectural aspects  and color ways of Hopper’s work. I recently saw Lari Pittman’s exhibit at the Hammer and was drawn to the color, texture and script in his earlier work.  For the last decade, I have found myself returning to explore the contemporary work of Australian Aboriginal art that weaves together story telling, culture and color. There are so many  forms of visual stimulation that everything I see becomes a possibility. 

Q:  What inspired you to get into the arts?
A: As a high school art student, my class was invited into the home of Marcia Weisman, one of the most prolific modern art collectors whose vision brought Los Angeles the Museum of Contemporary Art and helped cultivate the astounding art collection at Cedars’Sinai. Around each corner of her home was a new surprise, Pollocks, Rothkos, Hockneys and even her own portrait by Warhol. I learned about George Segal, Ed Ruscha and Jasper Johns from her descriptions of pieces in her collection.  I can’t recall the artist, but there was a carved floor lamp and as Marcia walked up to it we realized the shape was born of her silhouette. 30 years later, I understand the profound impact that experience had on me. I experienced an eclectic combination of some of the most influential artists in the modern world under the roof of someone’s home. Mind-blowing!
Q: Why painting rather than another medium?
A: I love painting. I find it the most forgiving medium. It allows for you to change your mind mid piece. I tend to work on multiple unrelated pieces at a time; my mood and level of patience dictating what I work on. For the most part, painting feels good and allows me to express myself and be true to the moment that I am working in.
Q: What are your favorite materials to work with?
A: I jump back and forth between oil and acrylic paints. I love how fast drying acrylics allow for multiple layers and textures in a shorter period of time. There is more of an immediacy with acrylics which creates a different type of process. However, when oil paints glide across my canvas, it is so satisfying and soothing. It’s a completely different experience, the smell, waiting for the oil to dry, it draws out the process. I have been exploring collage as well, which I find as one of the best ways for me to explore my personal viewpoints or commentary on the world around me.
Q: What kind of art do you own or show in your house or do you only have your own work displayed? 
A: There’s an eclectic mix- paintings, drawings, photography, some sculpture with my work interspersed throughout the house. One of my favorite pieces is a mixed media painting made by my older son when he was around 10.
Q: Do you have a message in your work?
A: Not particularly, but I hope that in the chaotic world we live in, my work allows you to pause, take a breath and find balance.
Q: What is the philosophy behind your work?

A: Stay true to your gut.