Fresh perspectives in her screen prints and paintings

The work of British artist, screen printer and painter Anna Marrow serves as a much-needed, creative delight in trying times. Her paintings and prints are colourful, playful and refreshingly vivid. 

Although no two designs are the same, Anna’s work commonly features: buildings, floral motifs, divers, animals and other elements of nature. Her prints are clean and finished, marked by bold blues, pinks and greens and pronounced horizontal edges.

The detailed finish adds to the one-of-a-kind feel of her prints and speaks to her skill and uniqueness as an artist. 

Like many others, Anna’s work has been disrupted by the pandemic and she had to adjust her screen printing practice when her studio closed for lockdown.

We talked with Anna about finding inspiration, getting started as an artist and her hopes for a swift return to music and dancing… 

THE PLUS: When did you know you were going to be an artist?

Anna Marrow: I always wanted to be an artist, from as far back as I can remember. It was either art or own a sweet shop!

TP: We love the vibrancy, colours and playfulness of your work! Is this reflective of your style beyond your work? For example, fashion and interior design.

AM: I tend to wear quite dark, understated clothes but my house is full of colourful touches and lots of glorious art work.

TP: As a screen printer, have you had to adapt your process based on limitations of access to equipment as a result of the pandemic?

AM: Yes, I work at Spike Print Studio in Bristol which shut for two out of three of the lockdowns. In the first lockdown I made lots of paintings and sold many of them through the artist support pledge, which was a great idea by artist, Matthew Burroughs.

The artist sells their works for £200 each, each time they reach £1000 they buy another artist work for £200. It worked really well and enabled me to not only sell work but buy artwork again. It reminded me of the excitement and joy a piece of artwork can bring.

TP: Do you have a preferred medium between painting and screen printing?
AM: I love both painting and screenprinting for different reasons and don’t have a favourite process. I love the layering of colours and mark-making in screen printing, and how fast you can produce multiples.

I love how the ink lands on the paper and the glorious flatness of the layers. When I’m painting, I love the immediacy of the process and how directly involved you are. I think the artist is more directly in control with painting.

TP: When painting, do you prefer to work from a photograph, in-person viewing or from your imagination?

AM: I normally work with a selection of photographs, using a good reference is really important to me.

TP: We love your diver series. Where did your inspiration for these particular designs come from?

AM: I love the innocence and romance of old musicals. I think this lead me to the divers. A lot of them are inspired by Esther Williams and the film ‘Million Dollar Mermaid.’ I also love the 20s and 30s modernist architecture in many lidos, so sometimes the inspiration comes from the buildings.

TP: As an artist, the lines between your hobbies and work seem more blurred. What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not working?

AM: I love being out in nature with family and friends. I love running, walking and swimming. I find it quite hard to switch off from work completely so I often use my leisure time to get new inspiration.

I also love music, gigs, festivals, dancing – all just memories at the moment but hopefully we will be able to enjoy these again soon.

TP: Any advice for those looking to explore their creative side more but feeling held back?

AM: The best advice I’ve been given is just to do it! Don’t worry about how good you are, you wont be any good to start off with, you have to make the bad work to make the good work so the sooner you get started making the bad stuff the sooner you get it out of the way.

Drawing and painting are just like any other skill, you have to warm up and practice. If you set yourself a task to make a ten minute sketch every day for a week you will see the improvement by the end of the week.