Anna Masters: Street Pianos
On Thursday I spent an afternoon with talented artist Anna Masters. Anna is contributing to an exciting public art project entitled: Street Pianos: Play Me, I’m Yours and has hand-painted 10 pianos which will be displayed in various locations throughout London. Anna Masters has been involved in other high profile art projects in the past, including The Elephant Parade and Jungle City, both of which were organised by the charity Elephant Family, and earlier this year she designed and painted an egg for the popular Fabergé Big Egg Hunt. As I photographed Anna putting the finishing touches to her artworks, she discussed some of the key themes for this project including inspiration, audience participation, and how Street Pianos has differed from her involvement in previous projects.
For further details about Street Pianos: Play Me, I’m Yours please see: http://www.streetpianos.com
“For me it’s important to take part in these kind of events as it’s a great way for people to see your work in unconventional settings – it opens up your work to different audiences.”
“It’s also good to be challenged to work in different ways; the brief, form and technical aspects of the work all inform your work in ways which you might not think about otherwise. Besides that, it’s really lovely to work on projects which people get so much enjoyment out of!”
There are 50 gold pianos, designed and painted by 5 artists
“The inspiration for the design stemmed from the Festival itself – I wanted to create a design that linked to the music theme, but also related to my own practice which generally has an organic and natural focus.”
“I found the design process for the pianos quite difficult as there wasn’t one idea that sprang out for me. So I drafted up a few designs and then worked up the one that I felt happiest with. I then adapted it to the size and designs of the individual pianos.”
Street Pianos was devised by artist Luke Jerram, in 2008. This is the final year of the project.
These pianos will be used as part of the City of London Festival, who have organised Street Pianos for four years.
The pianos will be in public spaces around the City of London and it’s neighbouring boroughs. The locations of them can be found at: http://www.colf.org/exhibitions/Classical-Music-Contemporary-Music-Exhibition-Jazz-World-Music/53-Free-Event–50-Golden-Street-Pianos.cfm
“In comparison to the previous projects, the pianos were a lot more challenging in terms of the time-frame and volume of work, which made me think more carefully about materials and the painting process.”
“The warehouse was Piano Logistics, in Hayes. All of these projects end up taking you to some pretty odd places – the elephant for Elephant Parade was in a shop front in Elephant and Castle, the tiger for Jungle City was in a disused library – which was pretty creepy. In comparison, the warehouse was pretty comfortable and accommodating!”
Time for a tune! Anna doesn’t just paint pianos beautifully…
There will be a road show of the pianos 18 June – 23 June, after which the pianos will be in their locations until 13 July.
“The Festival had selected artists with a much more urban feel than Elephant Family tend to pick, so it was good to work with people with such a different artistic background and skill-set to mine.”
2012 is the Festival’s Golden Jubilee, so all of the pianos have a gold theme or link.
Anna Masters uses a range of different materials and techniques to express her artistic ideas including paintings, prints and large scale installations. Please check out her website here: http://www.annamasters.com/
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All photographs © Samantha Edgley. All rights reserved
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