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Graduate interview: Zanne Andrea

Zanne Andrea and Matthew Robbins, October 2011. Photo: Matthew Robbins. Installation as part of a collaborative micro residency and exhibition at Backside Space, The Motorcycle Showroom, in Bristol

Zanne Andrea and Matthew Robbins, October 2011. Photo: Matthew Robbins. Installation as part of a collaborative micro residency and exhibition at Backside Space, The Motorcycle Showroom, in Bristol

Zanne Andrea completed her Fine Art degree at University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol, in the summer of 2011. We catch up with her en route to a collaborative empty-shops project and off the back of a mini-residency, six months on from graduating.

"Shall we talk with video or just normally?"

This was the first question Zanne asked me over Skype, with her American accent (I hadn't previously realised she had roots in the US). I answered with a faint south Yorkshire bend in my voice: "… let's just talk normally for now"

Zanne lives in the outskirts of Bristol and, with her dog and family in tow, at times misses the concentrated life of full-time study. But what of taking time out from the fast lane in order to pare down and focus on what really is essential? Graduation for many is a starting block to a new way of working, and for some a multitude of opportunities thrown on the plate in the beginning can often be daunting and afterwards deflating. For Zanne, stepping forwards may be more of a ramble than a mountain climb: but she's taking in more of the scenery and hand picking her horizons along the way.

"When you're slightly out of the loop you can really concentrate on individual things. It's forced me to step back and really think about what I am able to realistically spend my time and energy on, and how I want to move forward. Being much more focused on what you want in this way helps you build on partnerships with other artists, which are really worthwhile… For example an empty shops project which I am currently planning with artist Polly Kelsall has developed from a long standing dialogue, after many discussions involving the sharing of working methods and process and juggling home responsibilties with artistic practice."

As well as maintaining her practice during her time at home, Zanne works three days a week in an art materials shop in Bristol: being an artist is a value for motivation, and being surrounded by creative people in a new capacity draws out commonality and different forms of support:

"Being in a low paid job can have its benefits, especially working in an art shop you get to meet people and talk to them about your work… it also gives you access to a wider creative community. Life gets hectic with a four year old running around and even though my son ended up being the catalyst for me doing the Fine Art degree, it is good to escape and work alongside other artists in the same situation as me. "

For Zanne, process is the bread and butter of her practice and different points of departure are exercised depending on the capacity of opportunities given to her at any one time. Thus, during periods where work is not displayed or specifically produced for a show, the 'process' takes over and ideas still exist as fuel for future projects.

"The course at UWE was very interdisciplinary, and we were encouraged work with ideas. My work now takes hold of an editing process: a form of developing work by arranging and removing objects and then moving forward with what's left. I usually collect and make lots of things and shove them in a room, then I edit and manipulate them by taking things away, paring objects down to build an installation."

Perhaps the role of a studio takes less of a stand in Zanne's work. Even though her process does not override the necessity to amass work and objects, it does instigate and fuel the production of installations when a suitable format for display presents itself. So what of blogging then, perhaps as a form of interim for passing between one project and the next?

"This ongoing process that I speak of is a sort of language that I can refer back to, it is a way of self-referencing in my work that speaks for and then formulates production. I think maintaining a blog on Artists talking will give me a place to sit and think with this language - it will give me a chance to contemplate what the documentation and further production of my work means. I will have the time and space to have dialogue and explore this 'process', to realise how it can take hold of my practice, and how to work best with this."

So for an artist who, at times, considers herself out of interconnectivity, will keeping a blog and writing about this 'process' turf out more ideas?

There may even be videos... keep up (and join in) with the interview on Zanne's Artists talking blog 'Welcome to the jungle' »

See more of Zanne's work on her website »

Richard Taylor

First published: January 2012

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