Annie Hamman Artist Interview
Artist Annie Hamman takes about the importance of teaching online art classes for most professional artists and teaching children art.
Annie Hamman Bio
I am an artist and a teacher from South Africa, but I am originally Russian. My most favorite subject in art is a face. I tend to fluctuate in styles and media, as I am constantly curious about new possibilities in art. I can describe my style as symbolic soulful story art. Occasionally I gravitate towards surreal, then to realistic, then to expressive. My favorite color palette is muted or monochrome, but I do venture into full-color blast areas of art and find it exciting as well.
Please tell us what you do.
I am a full-time artist and online teacher. I predominantly paint in acrylics, but comfortable with virtually any media. I teach expressive art, with emotion and feeling. Every year I release 1 or 2 online workshops that teaches everything I know up to this point. My current online workshop on painting expressive faces in a variety of styles and media is called Close-Up, it is currently running, and you can still join us, just follow link to my website.
Please tell us about your art.
Mostly my subjects are faces and story art. I can do realistic portraiture from photographs but it kind of bores me, so I predominantly do expressive art in loose style that evokes a feeling in the viewer. I love creating what I call Story Art, where various elements come together in one composition: face, body, hands holding an object or a bird, landscape behind it with a road and whole lot of additional elements. I teach how to put it all together in my workshops Soulful Story Art 1 & 2.
What is your art background?
I was trained as a watercolor artist, from the age of 13 to 16, where I went to government art school 3 times a week. We were painting realistic still life, taught basic composition, proportions and observation skills, drawing/ values, history of art and some sculpture. So many hours of watercolor have put me off this medium and off art for many years. It was not my medium and not my subject matter. It’s so important to find what is your passion in art. At the age of 35 I returned to art, learning to paint faces in acrylics, oils, pastels, charcoal, mixed-media and many other mediums. I am basically self-taught, because all I know now I have learned in the last 5 years of just showing up in my studio daily and experimenting.
You left a film editing career to become a full-time
artist, what made you make that change in your
While being a filming editor I began playing in my studio more and more and realizing what actually is my true calling in life. Birth of my daughter at 35, have interrupted my editing career for few months and allowed me to reassess my life. After a couple of years of painting and evolving I sat down and saw that I have everything at my disposal to start teaching art online: teacher’s degree, filming and editing experience, and my brother who is a programmer was willing to help with website. New career is never an easy decision but you have to follow your heart, or it will only lead to unhappiness in life.
You host your own online workshops, do you think
that art courses are a good way for artists to fund
their art careers?
Yes, teaching definitely helps to bring prominent income to artists. Selling art alone does not allow us to survive, well, for most artists, even really good ones, that is the reality. I do however believe that an artist should not teach if he/ she is not passionate about teaching as well, and if she is not willing to put hours into the technical side of this career, there are hours and hours of admin and marketing involved and all sorts of technical knowledge is required too. There is hard side to it, but also tremendous joy and reward when seeing your online students blossom and evolve in art.
Your daughter became an artist at a very young age,
can you tell us about that?
Tallulah was bothering me in my studio quite a lot in the beginning of my career. Initially I was frustrated by interruptions, but then I decided to give her large canvas, brush and acrylic paints. She was 1.5 years old. I had in mind to paint over her canvases eventually. She started painting every day. I let her do whatever she wanted, introducing her to more and more art tools and showing her some new techniques. Eventually I realized that her abstract art is beautiful, fearless and unique. I ended up never painting over her works, or interfering, or helping. At the age of 3 she had her 1st solo art exhibition here in our town, with about 25 large canvases displayed. It was very successful. After that Tallulah moved on to smaller scale art, doing a lot of it in her A3 art journals or collaborating with me in my art. She became my art teacher on fearless art and we have created combined online workshop Fearless Expression (available on my website), where I teach people on how to collaborate with your child or your inner child and create free, expressive and fearless works of art.
Do you have any advice for teaching children art?
Please allow freedom of expression. Don’t tell to color in within the lines, don’t fret over mess or ruined dress. Tell your child: go for it, do whatever you want on that canvas, lie with your body on it, paint with your feet, throw paint, splash paint, create with joy, experiment, don’t ask for permission. Stand aside and just observe. You will be tempted to stop her, to correct her, to interfere, to run and clean her hands or her dress. Don’t do it. Your child is teaching you fearless art and fearless life. They experience pure creation in the moment, a priceless experience that will shape their future life.