“When I sculpted a girl, she was so cute I couldn’t bring myself to slaughter her.
Later – on a new piece, I went for it. The right element popped in when the time was right.”
Anita (also known as Sleetwealth) creates indescribably realistic, fantastically impossible and hauntingly beautiful sculptures. The flesh of her beings have sumptuous, luminous and sweaty skin textures, making them human and vulnerable. Some have the remains of a white powder, hinting of forgotten stage makeup or shroud residue. Her coloring is subtle yet punchy, strong where it needs to be and fading to realism elsewhere, emotions flow – lips wetted and eyes tearing up. The elegant arrangement and added touches of decor, tattered fabrics and jewelry are artfully and tastefully edited.
These are poetic works, tactile souls that ache – with a dash of art nouveau and well loved ghosts. Anita is a master at what she does and it shows – she’s at the top of her class and a huge favorite of mine. You may remember some of her works from Eclectix’s “All Dolled Up” exhibit. We are proud to have this chance to share some Anita with you…
Can you tell us where you were born and a little history about your childhood?
I was born in Maryland, but my earliest memories are of the attic space of a Chinese embassy we rented in DC.
What did you do up there?
I usually was stringing necklaces out of colorful resistors, playing with a rubber sloth toy or watching the street from a tiny window at the top of the house.
Where do you live now? And how do you feel your environment affects your art?
I live in a tiny mountain community outside of Bakersfield, CA. Famous for a woman’s prison and windmills. It’s beautiful in a desolate way. I suppose you can see it in my art – the feral, sparse and apocalyptic overtones of this land.
Is there an event or experience that helped form who you are today?
Loneliness, isolation, closeness with nature. And a hunger for reading about things outside my own reality. I made my friends and I have a vivid imaginary world.
What was first piece of art that you remember creating? The media?
It started so early I don’t remember my first but, at age 10, I made a doll of wire, cloth and string. I called him “Mr Broken” – he had bandages round his head and a cast on his arm.
Do you have a picture of him?
I no longer have him nor did I get any pictures. My mom kept some of my odd fruit and vegetable people. Made from snips of cloth and stuffed with toilet paper.
What generally inspires you to create a piece?
The human body- its strengths and base weaknesses. Its crude decaying matter and its spirit, will and light. Worn materials of any kind spark me.
If there was an artist, dead or alive, that you could spend 24 hours with; who would it be and what would you do?
Just one?!!! OMG hard!! Like asking which food would I like to eat the rest of my life! It would be great to meet a figurative sculptor like Ron Mueck. Watch him work, pick his brain, etc. And I’ve always wanted to visit the crazy studio of someone that’s just crammed with good stuff !
What materials, specific brand of paint/glue/pencil do you prefer to use? A favorite? And why?
Genesis heat set oils. because I love oil paint and it allows me to paint spontaneous layers with a heat gun.
Is there a technique, procedure or tip that you have discovered, you could pass onto other artists?
I think it’s helpful to be open to all mediums and crafts. The knowledge inspires improvisation.
What is your favorite word?
“Peace” because the word itself is relaxing and makes me visualize.
Any favorite songs or musicians that you listen to while you work?
I sometimes listen to the Silent Hill Homecoming, Coleen, Antenne, some ambient-like stuff, but I most often like to work in the wee hours with silence.
If you could pick one piece of art to own, out of the world’s museums, personal collections and galleries, what would it be?
Rene Lalique’s dragonfly pin or any jewelry designed by Lalique.
Of all the exhibits and shows you have been in, are there a few that stand out in your mind as far as the overall quality of work?
Of all your works, what is your own personal favorite? What was the thought or vision behind the work and why is it your favorite?
Unigirl Song (below). I had this vision of a girl with her head split open and all the ornate designs inside. When I sculpted a girl she was so cute I couldn’t bring myself to slaughter her. Later- on a new piece, I went for it. The right element popped in when the time was right. A unicorn horn forcing its way out of the fissure.
What is your biggest dream or fantasy?
My biggest dream would be to find the portal that goes to the other side, create an anchor so I can go back and forth between places, but I’d probably end up staying there most of the time.
Bloom where you are planted, go through doors that open…
For more Anita…
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(This entry was originally posted on 11/28/10 )anita collins, anita collins art, anita collins dolls, anita collins interview, artist interview, doll art, dollmaker, eclectix interview
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