Anna Bonshek is a local Queensland artist. Her work Structure references the built form conceived by the human mind utilising nature’s resources. Fashioned wood frames connect via stacking and are held by weight of tree lumber. This simple, monumental work honours nature and the impulse to bring structure into being. Part of an intimate relationship with land and conservationist practice, amongst various media, here Anna Bonshek collects and works with material typically disposed of. Anna is interested in balance—the mathematics of formal architectural structure, nature’s cycle of organic growth, reproduction, decay, and how these are interdependent.
Writer Haley Smith spoke with Anna about what inspires her art practice, her connection with nature and how this evolves to create beautiful 3D works that connect to community.
Can you tell me one thing about your artwork that will make people stop and stare?
My piece Structure is a work that actually gains its structural integrity via gravity, the weight, shapes, the interlocking components of the work. It’s essentially an assemblage of elements. As it’s made of wood, it’s not arresting, it’s familiar. But the rough logs were cut with a chain saw.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I’m inspired by nature and, in this case, also by architectural form. I love how nature sustains us, gives us everything we need in life, including material for art. I like to contemplate the inner order of things and how this is reflected in the world around us, both natural and humanly made.
What motivates you to create your art?
I am motivated by an inner impulse to create—the process of creativity itself—and how, from nothing, comes an idea, and then something which has a presence materially. I find this thrilling.
Do you experience self-doubt or fear when it comes to creating art and how do you overcome it?
No. Creating art is an act of pure enjoyment. I don’t have doubts about that.
How long has it taken you to complete your SWELL Sculpture this year?
It’s taken eight months to refine the concept, resource materials from local sources, and build elements for the work. there is so much that goes on behind the scenes that is not seen in the finished piece, a kind of project management as well making the work. It involves other people.
Can you tell me what impression you want your art piece to have on the public?
I hope the public will enjoy the work and that it resonates with them in some way. Everyone has their response to a work of art. This piece is large but on a human scale. So, you can take it all in at one glance. I would be happy if people come away with a positive feeling or even an insight, that they didn’t have previously. If it makes you think about art and your place in the environment.
At what point in the day do you find you are the most creative and productive?
The mornings are especially magical. Everything comes alive. Ideas are flowing and I am fresh.
Are there any installations from other artists that you are excited to see this year?
I’ll be away during the exhibition in Europe, but I really look forward to seeing everyone’s work online.
Would you rather create art with your opposite hand or have a really annoying high-pitched noise play every time you try to do work?
I like the sound of birds and the silence of the bush all around me, so I don’t think this would be very constructive for me. It would distract me and disallow the process I work by.
If you could only use one material to make art for the rest of your life, what would you use?
I think I would probably say paper. It can be worked with in many ways. It’s so versatile and I love drawing. A drawing can last, and the idea it represents be transferred into other works by someone else, just as an architect creates the blueprint or the plan and the builder build the structure. I would want to continue to come up with the concepts and ideas for art that could be transferred into different media by a creative team. Also drawing on paper is universal, everything can be contained it in in seed form.
Haley Smith is an emerging writer and creative from the Gold Coast. She has had an active blog for over ten years where she shares her short stories, poetry and travelling adventures. She has founded a Podcast; Atomic Sunflowers. Here she shares stories about creative living beyond fear, mental health and balancing the creative mind.
Follow her on Instagram @haleylaurensmith or her blog www.haleylaurensmith.com