Name: Anne Rynearson
Current Location: Saint Paul, MN
Education: 2000 MFA (Painting) University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Preferred Art Medium(s): painting, drawing, photography, printmaking
Children (ages and genders): a daughter, age 12
Website Site(s): http://www.annerynearson.com
What is your background (where are you from, education, important details, where are you now, etc.)?
I grew up on a farm outside of a small town in southern Minnesota. As a young child I knew that I wanted to be an artist and loved to draw, sing and play piano. Pursuing the arts in high school (which was very limited in my rural school) and in college seemed the natural track for me, as I identified so deeply with being an artist. I began college at age 17 through a post-secondary program, doubling majoring in music and graphic design, but later decided to focus on a studio art degree. I received my BFA in Fine Art in 1996 and then graduated with my MFA in Painting in 2000. My experiences through a liberal arts education transformed my life and gave me the confidence and skills to pursue my aspirations to live and work as an artist. Since that time, I have worked both outside the home and as a stay-at-home mom with freelance activities on the side. After our daughter was born, my husband and I decided that it would make financial and scheduling sense for me to not work in a “traditional job”. We have had to move residences over the years, so consequently having a dedicated studio space varied according to the size of the apartment, etc., but I currently have a space at home in St. Paul for painting and other projects. Happily, I am now able to devote a significant amount time to develop my work and seek opportunities such as exhibitions and funding opportunities.
Was there any part of your formal or non-formal training that prepared you for being a creative maker and mother simultaneously?
First of all, nothing really prepares one for being a parent and school taught me very little about the realities of post-graduation life, let alone how to weave parenthood and artistic aspirations together. When my daughter was little, I dedicated most of my time to being a caregiver and wife and put my creative time aside. I tried to fit in some time when she would nap (which seemed like practically never) and when my husband was available to be with her after work or on the weekends. Also, many of our resources went toward our child’s needs and I was not able to work on projects in any great length or quantity. As my daughter has matured and become more independent, I have been able to work more and focus on artistic goals.
Are there any women that you find to be an inspiration for you as an artist/mother?
I see so many more women today (many in my peer/age group) that are able to work as artists and have support from their partners in their endeavors to have independent art careers. Having support from my spouse has definitely made the difference in my ability to pursue my work and achieve goals.
Can you talk about how you balance your role of artist and the role of mother? Did you take time off after the birth of your children? How did that work? What about childcare? How did you navigate making artwork?
Balancing parenting with work is always a challenge, but I have learned over the years that my work and time is valuable as well and in order to accomplish goals and aspirations I have to set aside time for the studio. My spouse is also an artist and understands the need to have blocks of time to work and has been supportive as a partner and a co-parent. Since I did not work outside the home after my daughter was born, I tried to incorporate work time whenever financially and “energetically” possible. Not enrolling our child in a childcare program actually simplified our lifestyle and reduced the amount of distractions in our lives. Now that our daughter is in middle school, there is significantly more time to work and take on more ambitious projects.
Tell us about your new series of paintings? How did this series come to be? Where is the imagery coming from?
My latest series of paintings contains imagery that begins to explore narratives related to my experiences of living in a rural community, family memories, and issues of environmental change. I really wanted to work on a large scale and explore new materials and methods and have the freedom to take chances with the work. When I began the series, I really had no agenda for the outcome of the imagery or concepts, but through the process of working, I re-discovered my passion for working intensely and with conviction. I feel that these pieces are just the beginning of this series and way of working; it has been a sort of personal revolution for me and my process.
You were part of the Phipps Center and Hudson Hospital Healing Arts Program in 2016. Could you tell us more about this program? How did you get involved?
I will be showing my work at the Hudson Hospital this summer as a part of their exhibition program. I applied to it as an opportunity to put my work out into the community and as a part of multiple efforts to apply to other local and national exhibitions. Being part of the process making work and also trying to place it in venues helps me to stay on course with my career goals. Deadlines keep me scheduled and goals to work towards.
You were a recipient of a 2016 Minnesota State Arts Board Grant? What will you be doing/making with the assistance of this award? When/Where will we be able to see/learn about what you make/do?
I am so appreciative to receive the Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board in 2016. This grant has allowed me to buy the materials and equipment I need to create my current body of work as well as to get a head start on future work. Beginning in July, I will be exhibiting the new work in three exhibitions this year, including the Soeffker Gallery at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN, the Hutchinson Center for the Arts in Hutchinson, MN and the Phipps Center Hudson Hospital in WI. My work has also been included this year in two publications: Creative Quarterly Journal’s Spring issue #42 and Fresh Paint Magazines’s June International issue. I have an artist website (www.annerynearson.com) and occasionally use social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to post work finished and in progress as well.
Are there any projects, hobbies, or activities (ex. Running, knitting, tea connoisseur, arts organizations, volunteering, etc.) outside of your artistic practice that you feel passionately about? What are they? Do you find them feeding your practice? If so how?
Playing piano, gardening, and running/walking. These activities are an important part of my life and artistic practice. I have tendencies to worry, stress, be a bit depressed, so having alternative activities really helps to keep me on an even keel and have more clarity in my thought and creative process.
Anything else we should know?
I think being a mother has expanded my world emotionally and intellectually and has truly given me a greater “life perspective”. It has reinvigorated my desire to work on my art in the manner in which I want (I am a grown up and I can own this!) and has reinforced my belief in the power of creativity. Most of all, it has taught me to remember to have a little fun once in a while!
Finally just for fun. If you were to make a playlist today what would be your top 5 favorite songs?
I love music – both listening and playing. I enjoy many genres, so that question is just impossible!