Interview with Illustrator, Anna McKay

How did you get started doing what you do?
I finished studying and while looking for a career-style job started doing some illustrations for fun. I began experimenting with techniques and styles and never really stopped. I decided to take it seriously and consider it a career option a few months after that. My skills have developed so much, it’s crazy.

What is art to you?
Anything that disrupts the ordinary. Images that look cool and have a point. Self expression.

Interview with Artist Anna McKay on Jung Katz
Interview with Artist Anna McKay on Jung Katz

How long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
I like to get most of the piece, if not the whole piece, completed in one sitting and then allow a few days to do any edits if I feel something’s not working. How many hours will depend on the detail of the work (whether I’m going for realistic illustration style or something more fluid and artistic) but usually between one to five hours.

How do you keep motivated?
As a creative you always have ideas and a passion for making stuff. I’m sure any artist reading this will have at least 10 things on their ‘to-do-list’, probably more. The hard part to keeping motivated is the inevitable rejection you are faced with when dealing with the business side of things. Sometimes the negativity can leave you feeling like it’s just not worth it. But then you’ll probably just have the greatest idea and so it continues. The Goddess is good like that.

Interview with Artist Anna McKay on Jung Katz
Lolly large

How have others reacted to your work?
Some people love it, others not so much. I think because my style is completely self-taught and unique (I get told unique all the time) some people don’t really get it. And then there’s the subject matter… some people don’t want to see women behaving how my women do. They want demure or docile. But there is certainly enough of that around already.

What, if anything, would you tell your younger self?
Ooh this is always a great question. To reverse the question, I kind of want my older self to come and tell me some future stuff now! Haha. But my dear younger self, I would tell her to: Be brave. To cut ties with people that bring you down. To try and find your tribe. That rejection sucks but it’s normal and that one day it will all make sense (although perhaps my older self could come and reassure me of that final part).
Interview with Artist Anna McKay on Jung Katz
Interview with Artist Anna McKay on Jung Katz
Grey large

Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
Just keep going!! It’s hard but if it is your path you won’t be able to get away from it. Check your numerology and astrological natal chart – these can be fun but will also help you understand yourself and your destiny. Because pursuing a career as an artist isn’t the easy route.

What are your thoughts on art school?
I wouldn’t know first hand, but friends that have attended say it sucks the passion out of art. I think it suits certain artistic types but true artists won’t – or perhaps even shouldn’t – enjoy it. If you want to be remembered, if you want to make a difference, you need to forge a path alone to really find your voice. If you want to make pretty pencil drawings and some cash, then sure, art school may assist.

Interview with Artist Anna McKay on Jung Katz
Interview with Artist Anna McKay on Jung Katz

Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
This one is actually unrelated to art but I would love to publish a poetry book. I find writing a really great outlet for the political ideas present in my art.

How could the art industry become better in your opinion?
I think being a little more open-minded would be a great place to start! I know in many ways it is but I still feel traditional methods and near pointless subject matter make it to the top. I think there are two types of artists, the ones that enjoy the process of making art and those that make art for a purpose. The latter have it harder, because not enough people are willing to open their eyes. A lot of people are happy to put a bunch of flowers or a cute puppy on their walls however.

Follow Anna McKay on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr.


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