We had the good fortune of connecting with Anna Cosimini and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anna, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
As 2020 began, I found myself especially inspired by “10 rules for students and teachers” by Sister Corita Kent, popularized by John Cage. The following rules stood out to me the most: – Consider everything an experiment. – Nothing is a mistake. There is no win and no fail. There is only make. – Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It is lighter than you think. I’ve enjoyed considering those “rules” as mottos/guidelines for this year, which turned out to be nice to have given the difficult year 2020 turned out to be. The “whenever you can manage it” is a key phrase for me in that last rule – it’s a helpful reminder that it’s often easier than you think to crack a smile, even when the world seems completely off the rails this year.
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.
Tell us more about your art. What sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about? I’m fortunate that I get to march to my own drum creatively – I can follow whatever muse shows up. I often make biomorphic forms and structures stitching together inspiration from microscopic anatomy, geology, fauna and flora in oceans and woods. Lately, I’m getting my kicks in the studio through bringing an Art Dada style reckless abandon to this work, generating shapes and forms to mash up together into experimental “blobjects” and embellishing their surfaces with extra looseness and spontaneity. The Art Dada movement emerged from the chaos of the early 20th century during the first world war. Dada is widely characterized as a response to the horror and senselessness of war and human folly. The Art Dada movement also demonstrated anti- bourgeoise and radical left politics, a context which seems fitting in a year where the richest got $637 billion richer while 40 million Americans struggled through job losses. Over a hundred years after the birth of Dada, the nonsensical experiences of the Trump era and pandemic and widespread economic and political instability are sufficient catalysts for similar abstract expressionist art. I anticipate seeing more of it, and finding myself continuing to be drawn to it as well. The art experiments I’ve done this year especially are sometimes ugly, grotesque, tedious, etc. It’s an interesting exercise to try to get away from the instinct to make pretty, aesthetically pleasing art. Sometimes we do need to have art that makes you feel uncomfortable or uneasy. Getting more comfortable being uncomfortable, so to speak, is an exercise towards creating more impactful, relevant, and cathartic artwork.
How did you get to where you are today professionally? Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way?
The processes of making art day to day are odd and fun, but I find running the business side of things and promoting it is where it gets trickier. I try to learn as I go and stay patient as I make mistakes. Of course when working for yourself and working from home it can also be challenging to find the right work-life balance. I find a lot of happiness in cultivating the right balance for myself when I can. Spending time adventuring and finding inspiration, spending time being creative in cooking, being playful with my dog, etc. are all complementary to the creative work I do in the studio, not to mention overall wellbeing. If I want to create outputs, I need to make sure there are plenty of creative inputs.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There’s a lot fewer options on this list in 2020, but they’re well worth it regardless. I find that getting outdoors is the most valuable type of activity this year. San Diego is so blessed with hiking, sightseeing spots, even scenic drives. Hiking at night is a great way to get a different experience on a popular trail like Cowles Mountain, Iron Mountain, or Mt Woodson (Potato Chip Rock). The city lights at night from a few thousand feet up, with the stars above, are worth braving the dark with a headlamp. (A quick side note- the black sculpture with yellow tic marks pictured above draws on the feeling of a city at night full of people neatly packed away into their homes.) You might even find that at night you get the trail all to yourself, which is especially nice as we’re all trying to social distance. Overall, the combination of the stress relief of nature and the endorphins of a good workout make hiking my favorite escape of the year. There are fewer advisable ways to go out and eat this year too, but my best recommendations on food (besides tipping extra everywhere!) are: – Bringing burritos/ picnics/ takeout etc. to the beach, or somewhere scenic like Mt Soledad – Hit some international grocery stores to mix up your at-home cooking game. A few of my favorites are World Foods (Vietnamese/ International), Zion Market (Korean/ Pan-Asian), 99 Ranch (Chinese/ Pan-Asian) Pancho Villa’s (Mexican), Addis Market (Ethiopian) and North Park Produce (Middle Eastern/ Eastern European) Pair some appropriate music with your culinary adventures, and the atmosphere in your regular kitchen might even feel a tiny bit like a café. – Support local farmers and small businesses at the Farmer’s Market. Visit one closest to your neighborhood or pick a new one to explore…San Diego has a lot to choose from! – Get a growler fill from your local brewery for a patio hang out. My favorite is Little Miss Brewing in Normal Heights, which also offers pint jar sized “prowlers” in addition to growlers.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am thankful to be a part of a community of artists at Clay Associates, where I have been one of the associates for 3 years. The studio has 50 years of history in San Diego and it’s engaging to be involved in a clay community with such deep roots in the ground. Working alongside other artists always keeps things inspiring and interesting.