In the fifth of our Spotlight series on marvellous Women we talk to Artist and Teacher Anna Morris.
We recently went to the little village of Isle Abbotts just outside Taunton and photographed Anna in her studio and home, a place of sanctuary and creativity. Photographing real Women is fast becoming a steadfast passion of mine and what better time than now as we launch our Women’s Portraiture Collections to the world!
Tell us who you are and a little about what you do…
My name is Anna Morris and I’m a painter and teacher living in Somerset. Moving from Oxford to Somerset almost 18 months ago has had a marked effect on my life and my work as an artist. The proximity of the coast and the quality of light here along with the big skies, combined with the discovery of a small workshop/studio with electricity down the bottom of the garden – a room of my own – have created the perfect conditions for a very productive year.
Tell us a little about your most recent shoot with Venetia and what personal branding means to your business.
I confess I was nervous about my shoot with Venetia as I’m not a natural in front of the camera but she put me very much at ease and was almost invisible by the end (in the best way possible of course!) Having a photo shoot is not something I would have thought of doing as an artist but there was something very gratifying about having my activity and the small, usually overlooked details of my environment recorded at this point in time. I think the professional imagery is something I’ll value in years to come as a record of my work as an artist and of what feels like a particularly significant point in my career.
What is your greatest achievement as a woman? (Can be in your business, your personal life, something massive, something silly, something you feel proud of)
The things I am most proud of? Being a single parent and managing to bring up a daughter whose company I love, who makes me laugh and whose qualities I admire! Also pursuing my creative vision over the last 30 years, sometimes frustrating but ultimately deeply satisfying and something I will always be obsessed with!
Name a woman that you admire and tell us why (can be anyone at any level)
There are so many women I admire, Cathy Newman of Channel 4 news who takes no prisoners, Lauren Laverne of 6 Music for her down to earth warmth and kickass attitude and the MP Caroline Lucas who over so many years has talked sense and truth to power. There are many artists and musicians too as well as amazing friends who manage to balance the many demands of work and family and still find time to catch up and put the world to rights.
This years theme for IWD is #pressforprogress – Are you happy to share a point in your life where you feel you have had to stand up for gender parity / work hard against / press for progress etc.
My role as an art teacher is a privileged one in that I can encourage young people to think about all kinds of issues and open their eyes to different ways of looking at the world which often includes questions of equality and fairness so I hope in some way that I’m making a difference as well as being a good role model for the students I teach.
And finally, If you were organising a parade in celebration of IWD, which Woman or Women would you create a statue of for pride of place on the float?
As an artist, I feel I should choose an artist so I’m going to say Frida Kahlo who was fearless and ahead of her time in so many ways – looking forward to the exhibition at the V&A this summer!