Anca Gray is a romanian born, chicago based artist with a background in architecture and a passion for gathering community around the table. Her work explores the life and history contained in discarded vintage books, antique lace and doilies, kitchen scraps and other assorted bits of found objects. She works these collected fragments into abstract paintings, allowing their stories to work with her own biases of brokenness and wholeness, of being and becoming. Her work is a relentless search for poetry in the debris, an affirmation of life and possibility.

She is interested in emotion, capturing and savoring unique moments in time and space, the simultaneous absence and presence of all colors, embedded memory of objects, texture, and a raw & feminine aesthetic.

To learn more about Anca, to see more of her work or to purchase something follow any of the links below:

And now for our exclusive interview with Anca Gray.

How would you describe your art?
Abstract highly textured black and white mixed media, occasionally figurative. the work unpacks an interested in emotion, capturing and savoring unique moments in time and space, the simultaneous absence and presence of all colors, embedded memory of objects, texture, and a raw & feminine aesthetic.

I prefer not to describe the meaning of it, and rather allow the the work itself to speak to the onlooker.

How long have you been an artist and how did you become an artist?
Creating has been my favorite thing in the world for as long as i can remember. As pablo picasso famously said, “all children are artists. the problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Life did get in the way for quite a few years, but then in 2010, it threw me a curve ball that ended up being a huge blessing in disguise. I was “lucky enough” to lose my job, which allowed me to pursue painting full time.

What is your favorite medium and why?
There are so many reasons why i love to work with discarded objects (found old books, vintage ephemera, lace & doilies, shells, rocks, dried plant materials, kitchen scraps). I believe it is critical to combat the rampant consumerist mentality that permeates our society and the waste that results from it. It delights me to give new life to these unwanted and overlooked bits. Keeping my eyes and heart open to the beauty contained in the mundane is simply a better way to live.

Pick one work of art from your portfolio and tell us the story behind it. Why does this piece have meaning to you? What steps did you take to create the piece?

i love “unfinished poem”, as the making of it was entirely and exploration of the material: eggshells. as one of the most iconic naturally occurring objects, the egg holds high intrigue for me. the broken shells speak of life and death, fragility and strength, past and future, mystery, transformation, and possibility. handling each vulnerable piece becomes a mediation on the formative process, and exploration of being and becoming – an artist, human. the nature of the material and the meditative process instinctively led to the shaping of the final piece.

Unfinished Poem
Unfinished Poem

Tell us about one medium, technique or style that you would like to try working with (that you have not tried before) and why you would like to try this.
I would love to try encaustic painting. the depth it adds to mixed media works is intriguing. plus it just strikes me as a fun, versatile medium.

How do you make time for art?
How do you make time for breathing?

If you could imagine the “perfect art day” for yourself, what would it be like?
Quite simple, really: quiet uninterrupted time in the studio. sunlight streaming through the windows. an endless supply of hot green tea. Getting my hands dirty and getting lost in the flow or creating.  At the end of the day feeling thoroughly satisfied with the process.

If you could spend 24 hours with one artist, living or historical, who would you want to spend the day with and why? What would the two of you do?

I would love to shadow the sculptor Constantin Brancusi for a day. I’d be glad to just sip my tea quietly in a corner of his studio and watch him at his craft.  A fellow romanian and true master of modernism, he seems to flow in his work with a deep sensibility to the nature of the material and the life contained within.

Do you have any tips or advice for aspiring artists?
Do what you love.


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