Annie Albagli

San Francisco, CA | by February 28, 2012

Studio prac­tices are as var­ied and per­sonal as the clothes one wears or the food one eats.  The stu­dio prac­tice of Annie Albagli is no excep­tion.  Pri­or­i­tiz­ing no one way of work­ing Annie is both a maker and a social prac­ti­tioner.  Mean­ing her stu­dio prac­tice ranges from print mak­ing, object and instal­la­tion mak­ing to plan­ning and prepar­ing for projects that take place out­side of the tra­di­tional arts com­mu­nity.  I met up with Annie on a recent trip to San Fran­cisco.   We met each other at the Embar­cadero sta­tion plat­form on the San Fran­cisco BART.  From there we headed out to Annie’s stu­dio in Oak­land at the Kala Insti­tute, we had a 20 minute walk which turned out to be a per­fect start to our interview.

Annie recently relo­cated from Wash­ing­ton DC to the Bay Area, and has become quite taken with the archi­tec­ture, dec­o­ra­tion, trees and plants of the Bay Area houses.  The col­or­ful houses and palm trees lined the streets of the walk and Annie made sure to point out her favorites.   The imagery and color palettes of the places in which Annie works have a ten­dency to end up in her work and I could see the rel­e­vance of this new loca­tion fit­ting in nicely with her new work.  We finally arrive at Kala Insti­tute which is housed in an old Heinz Ketchup Fac­tory.  The grounds are green and well man­i­cured.  To get into the print stu­dio which spans the entire top floor of the build­ing, we climb 3 flights of stairs that end in a gigan­tic red door.  Behind that red door is 8,000 sq feet of etch­ing, lith­o­g­ra­phy, screen print­ing, and let­ter­press equip­ment with tall stacks of wooden flat files everywhere.

Our con­ver­sa­tion quickly turns to Annie’s new body of prints and cut paper col­lages.  The imagery has been recy­cled, tweaked, and abstracted from her ear­lier projects.  This trans­for­ma­tion of her older work into her newer has become inte­gral to her process.  “Its this huge recy­cled vocab­u­lary thats grow­ing and chang­ing.”  In a desire to really define a cer­tain per­sonal aes­thetic Annie expresses her cur­rent inter­est in work­ing with the same imagery over and over again.   But chal­leng­ing her­self to layer and exe­cute tech­niques that result in dif­fer­ent projects.  It is an artis­tic prac­tice in patience, self aware­ness, and com­mit­ment.  It reminds me of an artist talk where I heard Leonardo Drew say he worked on a body of work for seven years before he tried to show it.  In a world of imme­di­ate grat­i­fi­ca­tion and over shar­ing the idea of retreat­ing into your stu­dio prac­tice to for­tify ideas and prob­lem solve sounds very refresh­ing.  Annie has a pro­lific work ethic but tak­ing the time to reflect seems to have an equal impor­tance as the pro­duc­tion.  Just like our morn­ing walk to the stu­dio, Annie takes fre­quent walks when see needs to look at some­thing else besides her work.

A piece Annie is cur­rently work­ing on con­sists of a pur­ple and yel­low screen print of bare tree branches.  The imagery is printed repeat­edly on the same sheets of paper and slightly off set result­ing in an almost blurry image.  The piece is beau­ti­ful but hard to look at because your eyes can­not com­pletely focus.  It is clear that Annie is well versed in the tech­ni­cal lan­guage of print­mak­ing but is com­pletely unin­ter­ested the per­fec­tion­ism and clean­li­ness of the medium.  “I kinda think of print­mak­ing as a dance or really art mak­ing in gen­eral, where you gotta know you steps to be effec­tive.“   Annie explains that she doesn’t print on the vac­uum tables that is com­mon prac­tice with screen print­ers.  She prints on the large draw­ing tables in order to move around it.  “I use being a print mak­ers as a tool to con­vey some­thing greater.  I think of these prints more as quilts or paint­ings even though they are not directly painted because that’s my rela­tion­ship to the work.”

When I asked Annie how this phys­i­cal act of mak­ing relates to her social prac­tice works, she responds that it is all about the exe­cu­tion of ideas in the man­ner that best solves the prob­lem. In fact her par­tic­i­pa­tory works par­al­lel her stu­dio prac­tice but incor­po­rate higher stake para­me­ters.  For exam­ple, her recent trip to Israel, resulted in her trav­el­ing to two dif­fer­ent cities in which she knocked on people’s door and asked them if she could cre­ate a work of art for them in their house that rep­re­sented par­adise for them.  “For a lot of the project it wasn’t about what I painted, I mean I painted Win­nie the Pooh for lit­tle kids in some houses.  It was much more about this human inter­ac­tion and doing some­thing for some­body that you don’t know.  I think its really impor­tant to have that expe­ri­ence of this human inter­ac­tion, this sort of love you can have for peo­ple even though you don’t know them.”


What’s next for Annie Albagli?  The DC Arts and Human­i­ties Coun­cil just pur­chased her piece Par­adise; Ode to Net­zarim to be included in their per­ma­nent col­lec­tion.   She will be teach­ing at the San Fran­cisco Art Insti­tute in Spring 2012, and is apply­ing for grad­u­ate school.


You can see more of Annie’s work on her web­site and to read more about the Kala Insti­tute please visit their web­site​.












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  • Jacob says:

    That yel­low print is really gorgeous.

  • Arthur Sarzen Sr. says:

    Annie: I just vis­ited your face­book page. I watched your video. It was very inter­set­ing. It was great to see a home­town girl and neigh­bor is mak­ing a state­ment in the field you have choosen to fol­low. Your cre­ations are awe­some! Love Art and Jackie Sarzen

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