Last night I spoke on the phone for the first time with Anne Marie Price. We have, like so many others, communicated a bit through Facebook in the past. I have been both fascinated and an admirer of her work for years, and speaking with her was every bit as enjoyable as viewing her mosaics.
To say that I was excited to feature Anne Marie’s work is an understatement, but the true joy was in hearing her speak about her work. I could hear in her voice the passion, commitment and love she has for creating her work. Her approach and intention come through in each and every piece.
While speaking with Anne Marie, she stated that she has an “illustrative” approach to her mosaics. The overall simplicity of the subject, and exactness in her lines are pleasing, but the fact that every time I view them, I notice something different, and this holds my interest. To me, Anne Marie’s mosaics are like “hidden picture” puzzles. Every time I view them, I notice another detail I had not seen before. Whether it is a pattern of an area, a surprising or unexpected angle she has cut a particular piece of tessera, or even the substrate she has chosen for a particular piece, there is always more to be seen and appreciated with every viewing.
One thing Anne Marie is known to me for, is the gifts she leaves for strangers on the beach. With bits of shell and found objects while there, Anne Marie creates spontaneous mosaics in the sand, to be discovered by passers by. Although I cannot say I will be on Huntington Beach any time soon, I still feel grateful to have “stumbled upon” Anne Marie’s mosaics on line.
The images included in this interview are slightly limited. I hope you seek out more of Anne Marie’s work through the links provided, and enjoy the balance of simplicity and complexity she brings to all her works. Her mosaics are truly a gift!
John by Anne Marie Price
LMA: How did you get started in mosaics?
Anne Marie: I always say…in hindsight now…every path and part of who I am..led to my becoming a mosaic artist. Every rock I collected, every church that had stained glass windows that would mesmerize me, every mosaic I came across in a park and HAD to touch. My very first memory I have is being on a family members back in one of those baby backpack things and being on the shores of Lake Michigan…on a rocky beach covered with smooth stones and being absolutely fascinated by all those colorful rocks. That is my first memory. The seed was planted at a very young age. But my journey to discover what I should do with myself in this life began when I was a stay at home mom in 2003 and received my first computer. I always loved stained glass and just started browsing online one day and stumbled across stained glass used in mosaic art. Then I typed in “mosaic” and bam….could not stop looking and thinking “ya…like THAT!” I joined a Yahoo Mosaic Art Chat group and started learning from artists like Sonia King, Robin Brett, Shug Jones and just countless other artists whom I greatly admire to this day. I will be forever grateful they took the time to answer my many questions.
Purpose by Anne Marie Price
LMA: Do you practice any other art forms on a regular basis or have a hobby when not making mosaics?
Anne Marie: I paint on occasion and before mosaic art I loved pointillism. I have always doodled with black ink pen but I always gravitate to mosaic art. It’s my thing. My ‘drug of choice”.
LMA: Who are your top 3 favorite artists or top 3 most influential artists?
Anne Marie: So very hard to choose three but off the top of my head…Georgia O’Keeffe because I absolutely “get” what she saw and how she expressed what she saw and she was a woman I understand on a personal level. Frida Kahlo because I ADORE her raw honesty and her sense of humor and her pushing the boundaries because she could. I adore sassy women who are not afraid to speak their minds. And Henri Matisse who I also felt very connected to why he did what he did in his art. I say these three are artists who I “recognize” something in myself through them. But there are so many, many more. The more I understand myself as an artist…the more I am curious of those who came before me so I am always reading about artists and learning about them.
Le Taureau à Mille Fleurs (The Bull covered with 1,000 flowers.) by Anne Marie Price
LMA: How would you describe your work and what gives it your signature style?
Anne Marie: My work is very personal and almost always connected to what is happening in my life at that moment or WHERE I am physically or mentally at. And sometimes it is just stuff I want you to look at and see in a different way. Sometimes I like to tell stories and sometimes I like to simply show you this bird…or flower…or texture or pattern…and just make ya look at it. I like simple and I like complex and I like to challenge myself and try to marry the two. I think I gravitate towards an Illustrator kind of style. I like creating mosaic art of things you don’t normally see, like a bull with flowers or a thistle. I feel like an “underdog” most days so I like to celebrate “underdog” kinda things in my art. I think my style is very straight forward but with many hidden meanings within a piece for those who chose to look a bit closer.
Untitled by Anne Marie Price
The Dance by Anne Marie Price
LMA: Have you taken any mosaic classes and who were they with?
Anne Marie: Yes. Kim Larson taught me how to work on large scale outdoor mosaic murals. Sonia King taught me the basics of mosaic art, history and business of mosaic art. Mireille Swinnen taught me how to work and appreciate working with smalti. And Carole Choucair Oueijan taught me indirect in her class. I feel extremely fortunate to have such excellent teachers so far. Each one has been so valuable to my journey.
LMA: Do you support any charitable causes? Which ones and why?
Anne Marie: Well I am always helping fellow artists when I am able but I have had the absolute privilege to be a visiting instructor with my Mosaic Mafia family at Piece by Piece in LA, CA. They teach formally homeless humans to create mosaic art that they either sell or work together on large scale mural projects and it is nothing short of amazing to be with them and work with them. Mosaic art is healing and a useful tool to help those (including myself) who need to put things back together in life after trauma or hardships. It is amazing to see these people take charge of their lives through mosaic art and light up while doing it. The artists and full time teachers at Piece by Piece are the most amazing and selfless people I have ever met. I do not know how they do all they do but wow am I glad they exist. The world IS a better place with them here and I am honored to call them friends.
Frida by Anne Marie Price
Mira by Anne Marie Price
LMA: Where do you find creative inspiration?
Anne Marie: Through everything around me. People…nature….details…looking closer at things. Sometimes just the glass itself. Sometimes just a mood. Sometimes a song. Life inspires me. Having a story to tell and having the opportunity to tell it…inspires me. Purpose inspires me. Understanding human behavior….working it out through art…that inspires me. The ocean! The city. Patterns inspire me. I could go on and on all day long. But I won’t. :p
The Libertarian by Anne Marie Price
LMA: If you could give readers one single piece of advice, what would it be?
Anne Marie: The most important thing I have learned so far is this….TRUST YOURSELF. I have a wonderful, no nonsense friend and teacher. I call her my “tough love” teacher because she taught me the most valuable lesson I have learned yet in that she would not answer my “what color should I use” questions. At first this made me frustrated when she would said…”I can’t tell you how to make YOUR art. It’s not my art…it is yours. Figure it out.” And you know what…the more I “figured it out” the more I started to see I could and she was right. I needed to trust my instincts and my voice. Technical questions yes…ask away…but questions relating to color or should I bring this or that into the picture or make this nose longer? No. Experiment. Figure it out. No one can make your art but you and you need to trust that you CAN work it out. And you figure it out by DOING. This is when I started to see “my style” develop. When I stopped asking others how to make my art. Go figure. It is absolutely one of the most important lessons I have learned in my career as an artist. To simply trust yourself.
Beach Art by Anne Marie Price