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INTERVIEW WITH ANNIE MCLAUGHLIN

How long have you been painting? 

I’ve been painting / drawing / arting for my whole life I guess, obviously starting in the childhood way. I went to a music & arts day camp every summer from ages 5 – 12. I think I was 10 or 11 when I decided I wanted to be an artist, and before that I think I wanted to be something like a singer/artist/model/actress/teacher/dancer/musician/astronaut.  When I was 13 I applied to two different charter high schools, one for art or one for math & science. I chose the arts high school and I think that’s when I really started taking painting seriously.

Who are your favorite artists? 

That’s such a hard question! I think also because my work is so interdisciplinary it’s hard to just briefly name a few. In one moment I will focus on painting, then in the next ceramics, then textiles, woodworking, etc. I can’t ever stick to just one thing, and my influences definitely reflect that. But for the sake of this I will try to pair this down to the essentials:

Historical – Anni & Josef Albers, Henri Matisse, Andre Derain, Emile Bernard, Paul Serusier, David Hockney, Alice Parrot, Sonia Delaunay, Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, Yanagi Soetsu

Contemporary – Tom Polo, Michael Bennett, John McAllister, Elizabeth Malaska, D.E. May, Jonas Wood, Joshua Abelow, Helen Levi, Cody Hoyt, Kat & Roger

What are your interests besides art?   

Landscapes, wild spaces, plant matter. I really like camping, swimming holes, and hot springs. I also am really in love with flowers. I realized recently that I can straight up go on a walk and look at flowers forever and ever. I also like good beer, herbal medicine, throwing pots, yoga, and eating tacos. Yeah!

What inspires you to work? 

Going to museums, a clean studio, good vibes. : – )

Do you ever have awful studio days? The ones that you want to quit painting forever?

I think I jump around to too many things to have this feeling, actually. If I get frustrated or bored with one medium I jump to another, and I think material-wise my work goes in cycles. Painting is always at the root of it though, and it’s such a personal thing to me. Never have I thought about quitting making stuff, but maybe instead it’s like “ah, that’s getting boring, what’s the next thing I can do?”.

Your weaving is pretty cool. Are they related to your paintings in anyway or are they different?  

I think everything I do is pretty related. Material decisions are always driven by color, pattern, texture, and a feeling of joviality. I really see the weavings as paintings, especially the ones attached to their frame looms, and almost all of the work I make is in response to landscape, the relationship between inside/outside, and residing in the domestic setting.

Do you read often?

It’s hard to keep a good reading practice while in school but I try to read at least a few books per year outside of my studies. The one I read most recently was Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay by Christopher Benfey. It’s simultaneously a kind of memoir and history book about American craft traditions and the beautiful metaphors of soil. It is all discussed within the context of his own memories and family history, which involves amazingly rich subjects like old North Carolina folk potteries and Black Mountain College.  Highly recommended!

What are your feelings on academia? 

Academia is wonderful and so important to my creative process. I am about to finish my undergrad in November and I keep thinking ah! I could stay in school forever! I really enjoy research and writing and I think it does something really good to one’s brain to be engaged in critical discussion with other people (especially off of social media!). Anything to keep the brain juices flowin!


Annie McLaughlin earned her BFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art. She has exhibited at various galleries and museums across the Pacific Northwest.  She currently lives and works in  Portland, Oregon.  

To learn more about Annie please visit 

http://www.anniemclaughlin.com