We had the good fortune of connecting with Ann Tracy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ann, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
For the majority of Americans, just the act of being an artist is risky. I grew up on a farm with 5 siblings. Pursing art wasn’t practical. Our mother encouraged culture, and we had creative people in our family history. But both parents thought I was more than a little nuts for going to art school and pursing this life. Later in life they proudly introduced me as their daughter that’s an artist. I hadn’t thought about it before, but yes, it’s a bit gutsy to say, “Hey, this is my purpose and I’m doing it. I’ll probably always need a day job, and hope to have a family, but I can make art at night. I can do this.” And I did. You also have to put yourself out there, accept a lot of “no’s” and keep going. I’m busy in the studio for long periods, then on the road for exhibits or residencies. It can also be isolating, which has it’s own challenges. My work is influenced by environment and I have several places that I consider creative homes including the Sonoran Desert, Lake Superior and the west of Ireland. It always surprises me when someone asks if I’m not afraid – a woman with serious heart defects traveling alone? It’s true I’ve had occasional problems, but people are almost always kind and helpful. It’s funny; I’m not much a risk-taker in any other area except art. The creative possibilities and process just takes over and fears are unknown.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Oh man, just a lot of work and perseverance! I utilized financial aid to go to good art schools. After that I developed a valuable and far-reaching art tribe by being involved. I have received a Mayor’s Award from the City of Tucson for volunteer work with arts organizations and the greater community.
Maintaining those relationships is just as important. I’ve worked demanding day jobs, and had a family. I’ve battled serious health problems. But I continue to make art. I’ve been obsessed with water for years: rain storms, oceans, rivers, any form it takes. Some of the work has been more conceptual and planned, but it’s 2020.
So like everyone else, I’m distracted, and going through difficult times. So I’m taking a break and finding moments of escape by delving into pure abstraction. And COLOR. We all need color right now.
Late last year, I had the good fortunate to spend a significant amount of time exploring and painting in Ireland. I’m a repeat visitor to Anam Cara, a retreat center for intensive stays by artists and writers. Anam Cara is located in Eyeries, on the Beara Peninsula in County Cork. Eyeries is a brightly painted village surrounded by endless sea and green fields. I’ve used this color influence as a launching pad for these new paintings. Three new large canvases have just been installed in the Center Gallery at Tucson International Airport, and will be on display til the end of March 2021. The Center Gallery is on the ticketing level, between Southwest and Delta. My work is also available through ARTEZONA Gallery, a new online gallery venture founded by Tucsonan Liz Hernández.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
It’s all about color and nature right now. We’d go to Tohono Chul Park and Tucson Botanical Gardens. Southern Arizona is the only place in the world where saguaros are native plants, so a drive through Saguaro National Park is a must. Tucson is a hiking/biking destination so I’d send them off on a trail while I get in a little studio time. In these covid days, the safest and best art is a mural tour, and we’ve got some beauties. The place for a drink is my rooftop veranda. Daytime serves views of the Catalina Mountains, nighttime city lights. The Old Pueblo has wonderful sunsets. Tucson was the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the U.S. There’s no shortage of fabulous food, with a culture of locally owned and farm to table. But to stay safe, hit the nearby food truck for a street taco or Sonoran hotdog. (Make sure you get Mexican orange Fanta with it.) I also recommend one of our many farmer’s markets. The Rillito Heirloom Market is about a mile from my house and offers native foods like nopales, tepary beans and saguaro juice; along with all the familiar food items grown across Southern Arizona.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
This shoutout is dedicated to my family. Especially to my daughter, Kelli Lopez, for always putting up with her artist mom. (If you’re in the Phoenix area, please stop by to visit Kelli and her partner, Michael, who have a really cool exotic drinks and snacks store on McDowell named Desert Drinks.)
Ann Tracy Art