Marle Woman: Annalisa Ferraris

Marle Women is created to celebrate our philosophy of designing pieces for women of all ages and stages of their lives. Each feature profiles a selection of women across the generations that we admire. We hope each interview inspires you, the same way in which these women do to us.

For Sydney-based artist Annalisa Ferraris, capturing the shift in energy within redundant spaces has always been a fascination to her. Her extraordinary interpretations of the ordinary are met with architectural shapes and abstract minimalism, and have hummed off the walls of internationally renowned galleries in New York, Indonesia, and Australia. Her style, classic and sophisticated with an odd sparkly accent, is an ode to her creative evolution as an artist; always minimal with a considered approach to shapes and colour.

Here, we speak with Annalisa about her upbringing in an Italian family, her exposure to architectural history from a young age, and how she approaches art, and style in her everyday life.

We proudly worked with Annalisa on a commissioning piece for our upcoming winter collection, which contrasts effortlessly against the gentle textures and hues throughout the collection. We’re thrilled to finally share this with you.


Can you share a little bit about yourself, your background, and upbringing?

I come from a very close Italian family, my brother and I grew up in Castlecrag a small suburb on the lower North Shore with my Nonna & Nonno living just down the road. Their house was an eating hub for the entire suburb with a perpetual supply of homemade pizza, ravioli & pasta. The suburb itself is known for it’s significant architectural history, our house was built for the Japanese consulate, with it’s big peaked slate roof, stone garden and rice paper walls it was perhaps an early influence on my creativity & minimalist aesthetic.

I have the greatest memories from my childhood, kayaking adventures, climbing trees and building forts.

What defining aspects have contributed to the woman you are today?

Most obvious aspects have been my parents, having contributed to who I am in a dichotomous way, from creativity & imagination to ambition and resilience whilst both strongly encouraging my brother and I to follow our passions.

Studying at The National Art School and Central Saint Martins were other significantly defining aspects, both institutions ignited inspiration and introduced me to a world I could see myself becoming engrossed in.

At what moment did you fall in love with abstract realism? Did you dabble in other forms of art prior?

It’s difficult to point out the exact moment, but I’ve always had an affiliation & love of minimalist abstraction to which I attribute specific moments of recognition. Such as, seeing my first Rothko painting in the flesh, such simplicity watching the colours hum & vibrate off the wall at the MET in New York. 

It’s a surreal feeling having such a still tranquil moment with a significant work of art surrounded by the sea of chaos that is New York city.
And so began a love of minimalism, just lines and colour initially. As my practice developed it became less abstract and slightly more realistic as I started painting swimming pools, and now it’s sort of making a return to minimalist abstraction.

Prior to painting I majored in photography at The National Art School which in itself was minimal too, and in some ways has influenced the way I paint and my approach to colour.

Architectural shapes and unattended spaces have found their way into your works - what sparked this fascination?

I think growing up where I did, in Castlecrag it’s so architecturally rich, founded by Architect Walter Burley Griffin and his wife, architect Marion Griffin there are many famous mid- century, art-deco houses all throughout the suburb.

From a very young age I remember loving the small private hospital because of it’s art-deco facade, and Walter Burley Griffin's famous flat roofed houses.

As for unattended spaces, I like the imbued narrative subject to one's imagination- wondering what it once was. I’ve always held a fascination of empty houses, abandoned buildings anything that once was filled with life and stories that’s become so still, vacant & quiet.

It’s strangely fascinating how the feeling of a space changes when life is removed. What’s the biggest misconception you find people have around art and the art world?

I think the biggest misconception would have to be that being an artist is really wild and fun, it’s incredibly difficult & in my experience you have to be extremely dedicated, resilient, and disciplined. The art world is so small and there’s a lot of grey area, so there’s little accountability which can make it difficult to navigate. Plus, you never get a break. It's always in your mind- you never really leave the office.

How do you approach the work that you do? Are there any guiding principles that influence the way you work creatively?

I don’t think there are any guiding principles, or specific methods of approach other than rigorous dedication and podcasts. Being audibly distracted allows me to concentrate for longer and attempting to follow a routine helps create structure.

But other than that, it’s really more about getting in the studio and doing it. If things really aren’t working in the studio, I find getting out and sourcing inspiration elsewhere helps, buildings, galleries, bookstores wherever you can. It’s a good way to reignite your inspiration.

 

 "I’ve always had an affiliation & love of minimalist abstraction to which I attribute specific moments of recognition. Such as, seeing my first Rothko painting in the flesh, such simplicity watching the colours hum & vibrate off the wall at the MET in New York. It’s a surreal feeling having such a still tranquil moment with a significant work of art surrounded by the sea of chaos that is New York city"

 

How would you describe your personal style? Has it always been this way, or has it evolved over the years?

It’s definitely evolved over the years, I think now it’s more of a classic, sophisticated look with an odd sparkly accent.

It’s matured from it’s grungy, embellished youth.

Have you always been confident in your style or is something you have learnt with age?

I feel like I’ve always been fairly confident with my style, I would never shy away from bolder pieces, and have always loved a more masculine look- wearing suits, trousers, & neckties. I once made my Nonna’s lace tablecloth into a long-sleeved virtually entirely transparent mini dress that I wore to my graduation.

Do you have any non-negotiable morning rituals that set you up for a productive day ahead?

Absolutely! I’m up early, around 5am or 6am and I usually go to a spin class or for a run, then return to the apartment with a large coffee, which I drink sitting on the floor & listening to the morning news. It’s my favourite, most sacred part of the morning.

I then quickly get dressed in my studio uniform consisting of paint splattered black jeans, a black tee, old R.Ms and a black blazer or coat. Before walking five minutes down the road to the studio. Vigorous exercise and a large coffee early in the morning keeps me focused & driven throughout the day.

Who are three people you look to for creative inspiration? Why do these people inspire you?

Artist, John McCracken- he’s an American minimalist abstract artist, he’s execution of colour is sophisticated and his ability to restrict himself is admirable.

Dear friend & artist George Byrne has always had an impact on my work, George’s incredible eye for composition and sensitivity to colour is something I greatly admire.

Friend & Interior designer/rare furniture dealer Don Cameron. Don’s Point Piper apartment doubles as a gallery showcasing the most exquisite rare furniture and lighting. Sicilian olive green walls make the space feel warm yet, boldly minimal and his expansive knowledge on design & furniture is unmatched. A visit to his space is always a source of immense inspiration.

What is a piece of personal wisdom that you carry with you?

“The harder you work the luckier you are”

What do you love most about Marle?

Marle’s clothing is the perfect execution of beautiful design paired with the very best material. The pieces have a timeless ease to them, neutral in colour and versatile in texture.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Most treasured accessory?

A Fairfax and Roberts ring my parents got me for graduating from University- The ring is inspired by traditional art-deco columns.

I love it’s reference to architecture, it’s like having a small piece of the city with you at all times.

Texture or colour?

Texture!

Summer or winter?
Summer for holidays and winter for outfits.


Annalisa wears the Yoli Top, Lina Pant and Ellie Dress, photographed by Kelly Geddes

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