Artist, art mentor, dancer with an interest in shamanic studies. This is Anne Siems an artist who likes to express her emotions in her artworks, from a magical realism in a personal garden of Eden of her earlier works to the movement #metoo of the faces tattooed women. And in this way tattoos become for Anne mythical signs, rites of passage, that are also unapologetic and brave.
Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
Hello, I’m Anne. I’m from Seattle and I’m a visual artist. I studied in Berlin at The Hochschule der Künste, graduated with an MFA and moved to Seattle right after. I am represented by contemporary art galleries all over the US and have shown some nationally.
What are the technics that you prefer to use to express your art?
I work in acrylic on panel and I also love working with watercolors on paper.
I would like to show here two series of yours: the “dolls-girls” and the ladies tattooed on face. Would you like to tell me the concept of them both?
My earlier work was focused on magical realism, depicting young women and children in old masterly styles with transparent clothing and bodies, surrounded by flora and fauna.
After the 2016 elections I have found myself in a new frame of mind. I couldn’t continue the transparent lace dresses, flora and fauna. It felt like my personal garden of Eden had been invaded and I had no choice but to step out. I was searching for a stronger expression of my feelings in response to what had happened in America. I shifted to an emphasis on pattern, colour, brushstroke and mark making.
Moving into an ongoing exploration of my personal experiences through more abstract means of expression.
On the heels of my show with almost abstract art, I became motivated by the “#metoo” movement, and concerned myself in particular with the developments around the unveiling of women’s repression. Letting go of shame around sexuality and nakedness, and by contrast moving into the strength of girl power and womanhood.
This led me right into the work for FERAL in which I was inspired by a new sense of feminism, a place of wildness, unconcerned with dictates of the fashion industry, the ideas of what a beautiful woman is supposed to look like, the letting go of rules about body size and embracing women of all colour. I started to depict young women again with transparent clothing, but they were clearly contemporary, sporting tattoos, purses and their hands had become animals. “Her Hands are Wild and Dangerous” was the first painting for this show. These young women and children look at the viewer with confidence and possibly daring. You will not mess with them. They are both ‘woke’ and mysterious.
What about the tattooed series?
The newest series titled “tattooed”, depicts stories that are tattooed on the women’s bodies. They are fables, they are mythical signs, they are rites of passage. These tattoos are also political, they are unapologetic and brave. They are markers of the world we live in and this time that on so many levels feels right on the edge in many ways, both personal and general. They speak of shadow work, of exploring the dark sides of our psyche, but also of strength and hope. The women in the paintings take a stance that is forward, unabashed, direct and thoughtful.
Who inspired you?
My faces and figures are mostly inspired by old masters, like Frans Hals and Velasquez.
My work has been more inspired by American Folk Art and the influence of German fairy tales and an upbringing in Germany and the German landscape as well as 3 formative years in Argentina, where I got to see a lot of art in churches.
Are you linked with some art galleries?
I show at Patricia Rovzar gallery, Seattle / Gail Severn Gallery , Ketchum, ID / Bruce Lurie gallery, LA / Russo Lee gallery, Portland,OR / Littlejohn Contemporary, NY / Visions West in Denver, CO / David Lusk Gallery, Memphis and Nashville, TN / Wally Workman Gallery, Austin TX.
Where can we find your artworks?
You can find the work in my galleries on my web site www.annesiems.com/galleries
And on Instagram @anne_siems_art
Would you like to talk about your tattoos?
My tattoos reflect important milestones in my life. I only have 4, on my inner forearm.
I designed them myself. One is a symbol of the Inner eye or all seeing eye. I tattooed that on my skin after I had painted it on my drum used for ceremony and waited for a year to be sure this was what I wanted on my body. The 2nd was the symbol of bones. After a yearlong women’s shamanic training I claimed the Goddess/witch Baba Yaga as my personal Goddess. She asks for discernment and deep looking into right and wrong. if you don’t get “with her program” she will demolish you. One of her symbols is a skull with a burning ember inside, this ember is lit eternally to claim your power and move out of naïveté.
The 3rd symbol is an image from a medieval drawing of a bat. The bat being a symbol of “fall first before you ascend”, it’s a symbol about change that can be painful, as through pain we grow. Flying at night, through the deep dark of the inner night, we see what we eventually must see, using all of our senses. My 4th tattoo is a part of a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke: Beauty&Terror. It has stood for both my inner upheaval going through a separation, through a lot of emotional pain and on top of it the pandemic and all the beauty and terror it presents to this day. During the pandemic I got to paint a mural with that saying on her neck. Once the tattoo shops were open again I couldn’t wait to get it on my arm. The poem is deeply spiritual and aligns with my personal mystical learning, my connecting and surrendering with a power greater than myself.