Introducing Anya Rasaiah. Rasaiah is a Marketing and Advertising student at Lancaster University and currently on her year in industry with Samsung Electronics. She manages to find time to create and exhibit unique multimedia works. Not only mixed in media but her pieces manage to combine reality with conceptuality. I caught up with her to discuss early inspirations, lucky breaks and the luxury of time.
When was your first experience of Art? What draws you back to the canvas?
I properly fell in love with street art and graffiti when I was 10. I remember being hooked after reading Philip Ridley’s ‘Scribbleboy’ then, and after some really unique experiences at a young age, art quickly became a huge part of my life. It’s really street art in particular that feeds this love, and despite my current mediums and use of canvas, there’s a lot of reference to tagging and handstyles in my work. I used to be that total nerd, making stencils, stickers and squeezers all the time. In terms of what draws me back to the canvas, its for love and opportunities. Art gave me my first lucky break at Saatchi & Saatchi aged 15 thanks to two Shepard Fairey (Obey) recreations, and so much has unfolded as a result of that. Art literally forces opportunities and doubles up as therapy/an outlet, and since discovering that it’s been a bit of a love affair ever since.
How do you approach your pieces, in particular the layering? Is is planned or do you wait for the inspiration to come in stages?
Right now I have the luxury of time when painting, (often a different story for graphics). The output is always introspective, and so creating a plot for the piece takes time to articulate, let alone execute. But yes, the inspiration definitely comes in stages. My unusual process tends to take some time; I build the layers of mixed media and literally hope to see something within them, a shape or sign, which relates to how I’m feeling and thought process. I then turn said shapes into something, and integrate it into the plot if it’s relevant enough. So mine’s definitely an unconventional method, and incredibly frustrating at times, but every one of my pieces is constructed in this way, and it fits together every time.
Are you experiencing a change in direction? The works on your website are predominately feature faces however your recent Facebook updates show something different. Tell us about the Stepper project.
You’re right, there has been a subtle change in direction. Thanks to the aforementioned luxury of time, my work now has even more layers and themes, often capturing a journey over time. The decision to feature faces depends on the theme, but the piece I’m working on currently is set to. Unnamed at the moment, the piece will depict a muse, someone that consumes thoughts, invades and fuels the mind.. But ‘Stepper’ means an update on a work in progress, a phrase I nabbed from artist Ian Francis. But my work now is less of a project and each canvas is designed to stand alone. One canvas has to say it all, however cryptic the emotion is within that.
Are you working on anything at the moment? And what’s next?
So whilst working full time this year for Samsung and juggling life, I have a piece on the go at the moment (Stepper updates on Facebook), and I’m working on a project for D&AD New Blood. But next steps will hopefully involve some social enterprise work in branding for small businesses and charities over summer. And then it’s back to uni for my final year, with the ambition to go onto to work for an ad agency very soon!
Rasaiah’s works have been exhibited at The Sultran Gallery in Lancaster. Follow Rasaiah’s updates by liking her Facebook page.