Talking about the birds and the butterflies with artist Sally Ann Johns

Inspired by the magical realism of Frida Khalo and the puffin colony that she walks past regularly off the East Coast of Scotland, Sally-Ann Johns’ work is something to be celebrated. ACHICA Living chats to the wonderful Sally-Ann Johns to find out more…

How did you know that art was your calling?

I grew up in a very artistic family. My father was a professional musician and my mother was a dancer. I have always felt a career in the arts was what I was born to do.

What inspires you daily?

Spending time in my attic studio in Edinburgh’s West End, where I have a view across the chimney tops of the Pentland Hills. I spend time on the East Coast of Scotland walking on the beaches and walking the coastal trails. There is a large puffin colony off this coast and it’s not difficult to find these birds in my work.

What did you love most about your Masters in Product and Furniture Design at Edinburgh College of Art, and how did you fulfil your dream of becoming an artist?

My Masters was a very enjoyable time for me. Going back into the education environment as a mature student I found myself more confident in my abilities as an artist and more able to stretch myself, experimenting with materials and light. With regards to my dream of being an artist, this is very much and always will be an ongoing process of growth and evolution.

How did you discover the idea of using gold in your work?

I was inspired by and felt drawn to the use of gold leaf in the iconography of the Christian Church and felt these images resonated through time. I felt the need to place familiar animals and objects from my own world into this stream of light, reflected in gold.

What inspires you in your work and which fellow artists do you admire?

It was seeing Lucillino by German lighting designer Ingo Maurer that inspired me to take risks in my practice. His work blurs the boundaries between art and design. I also love the magic realism of Paula Rego and Frida Kahlo.

What advice would you give anyone starting out as an artist?

Work every day and take risks.

The Sally Ann Johns promotion at ACHICA is on until 7am Saturday 31st March 2012.

[Picture below: Sally Ann Johns' dining room]

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Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor