Greta Oto - image courtesy of Anne Kucera.
This month Colour Box Studio is participating in Craft Victoria’s Craft Cubed Festival and we’re teaming up with Wynter Projects to present our last event as part of the FOOT IT Art Tour series. On September 19th you can join us for a special FOOT IT: Craft Art Walk that will showcase some of Melbourne’s finest artists who dabble in all things crafty – for details click here. We caught up with local artist Anne Kucera who primarily creates using paper making pop up artworks among other mediums.
Featured image: Greta Oto – image courtesy of Anne Kucera.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your creative practice.

Well, I consider myself a practicing visual artist. I completed a Diploma of Visual Art at RMIT in 2001 and a Bachelor of Fine Art at VCA in 2004 in pursuit of my life long passion – creating art. I have been exhibiting my work for 14 years now and hope I can do so for as long as I’m here. My creative practice is very hands on and I love making everything by hand. I get asked a lot ‘why not let a machine cut it?’ but I find there’s a certain poignancy in handmade art. I have a fondness for many mediums but I would say working with paper is my favorite. Over the past couple of years my works have evolved into pop-up books which challenge me but that only inspires me more.
 
What has been your most treasured creation/ project?

That’s a tough question! Well, I have enthusiasm for everything I create – even those that push my boundaries! But I think one of my favorite pieces was the pop-up book I made called ‘Omega’. It is based on a dream I had which I left me with an odd feeling I couldn’t shake for days. I think the feeling it left behind really pushed me to create a version of it I could see. I would describe it as a post-apocalyptic scene. It almost feels more like a memory to me rather than a dream.
 
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‘Omega’ Popup Artwork, 2013. Image provided.
 
Where did you all grow up and has it influenced what you create?
 
I grew up in Melbourne in the North-Western Suburbs. My home life as a child was full of exploring, learning and creating. My siblings and I got our fix of outdoors, gardening, sport and music through my Dad, and from Mum; art, history, literature and philosophy. My Mum was a big influence on me as she really encouraged creativity in all of us and pursuing what you love. That’s how she ended up with an Archaeologist, a Musician and an Artist! There was always paper and pencils to draw on in the house, boxes of craft supplies and endless trips to every possible museum, film, art class and exhibition in Melbourne. She is also an avid reader which is a passion we all inherited. She kept a lot of stuff I made as a child. When I was 10, I used to make books that were intensely detailed with: spines, hard covers, end papers, blurbs, dedications, lots of pictures and even dewey decimal system labels on the side. I find it funny I now make popup books as my art form but I can see where it’s come from. 
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Some of the Books I made when I was 10. Image provided.
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‘The Book Keeper’, Popup Artwork dedicated to my mum. Image provided.
Who or what was inspires your creativity?

Books definitely inspire me but I find films and artworks influence me too. I’m also a sucker for travelling which has definitely opened my eyes to the possibilities of what I can create – leave me alone a top a mountain in an existential crisis and I’m in heaven! I am a big daydreamer but I also dream an awful lot at night so a lot of my dreams and nightmare have turned into artworks as well. 
 
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‘The River’ Popup Artwork, 2013. Image provided.
 
Where/ when do you feel most creative?

I think I feel most creative in my studio. I can shut out the world, sit down with and idea and run away with it. It can seem like a form of self exile but to me, when I am locked up in a space like that – there are no boundaries.
 
What are your thoughts about Melbourne’s creative scene?
 
Melbourne’s creative scene is glorious. It is so diverse and adapting to the constantly changing environment of the city. I love that we have so much to see and do at any one time. And the West is really stepping up to compete alongside high volume art suburbs like Fitzroy and Brunswick. I have been a volunteer at Trocadero Art Space since 2007 and it’s been amazing seeing the development of the arts scene there. And the best part is the more it evolves the bigger and better it will get.
 
Whose work are you digging right now?

Currently, I find myself revisiting lots of older art, especially old book illustrations and lithographs by artists like Arthur Rackham, Alan Lee, Sir John Tenniel and W. W. Denslow. I also am re-watching every Hayao Miyazaki animated film I can get my hands on. I’ve seen them several times but I have moments when I’m awestruck by them all over again. But, on a more contemporary note, I’m in awe of Daniel Agdag and his amazing sculptures, Elizabeth Gower’s instense collages, Jazmina Cininas’ reduction linos and the mindboggling pop up engineering of Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda.
What are you working on next?
 
Right now, as I’ve just installed my Window Piece at 100 Story Building, I’m finishing up a few commissions that have been slowly stacking up. I also have some new popup books I’m keen to begin as they are still in the early idea stages. And I’m revisiting my passion for printmaking.

Where can we see more of your work? 
 
You can view more of my work on my website:
On September 19th you can join us for a special FOOT IT: Craft Art Walk that will showcase some of Melbourne’s finest artists who dabble in all things crafty – for details click here.

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