A moment with
Staring into one of Annalisa's artworks is like a meditative practice. Her painted scenes of empty pools and brutalist architecture are physical embodiments of silence. They are scenes devoid of people but never lacking in life. Her art is as vibrant as she is. A sweet balance of refined minimalism and warmth. The same warmth we felt as soon as we entered her renovated Art Deco apartment in Sydney's Darlinghurst. A space that speaks to our own sentiments - with an expertly curated collection of art lining the walls and a refined edit of furniture that speak to both the heritage of the building and Annalisa's love of entertaining.
On a recent visit, we spoke about her journey to becoming the artist she is today.
On what you do?
As a minimalist painter, I take inspiration from my surrounds. Buildings, empty swimming pools, architecture, and with those references either in the form of sketches, photos or memory, I enter the studio.
Working predominantly with oil, I then (attempt) to paint minimalist scenes with heavy shadows, blocks of soft colours, illusion & depth.
How did you find your medium?
Post high school whilst studying at The National Art School, I majored in photography, printing all photos by hand in colour.
Once graduating from art school with Honours in Photography, I began to experiment with paint and much like my photography - its roots were that of minimal abstraction.
Now, a decade on from graduating, I still see a lot of my photography in my paintings. Subtle hints that echo work from my days as a student.
How has your style evolved since deciding on painting?
Initially it was very minimal, just blocks of colour. As I continued to paint, it developed into something more literal. In 2015, I had an exhibition titled 'Pools' comprising of thirty paintings all depicting empty swimming pools.
Throughout the journey of my practice the work has always consisted of soft palettes, hard edges and a minimalistic aesthetic.
Where do you look for inspiration
Everywhere from architecture to other artists, particularly Ed Ruscha, Hockney, Rothko. But also, anywhere that has a hard line, or an interesting shadow.
Buildings, furniture, periods such as the 40's. When you work in a minimal way, you can pick up something inspiring from anywhere, you just have to be looking.
How do you work?
As I'm quite a type A (but also contrary) I generally love a routine, even if it means abandoning it. I plan our every day the night before and stick to it for the most part.
My day usually begins early with vigorous exercise and a big coffee.
Your apartment is like a carefully curated gallery. How do you know if a piece of art if meant for one of your walls?
Thank you, I love that it gives off a curated gallery feel! What a compliment. I guess the only criteria is that we both agree on the piece before committing to it.
My fiancée Nathan is quickly becoming an avid collector so he is very involved as well (although I do veto some of choices). We have a joint list of artists whose work we want to add to the collection, and we have individual lists too.
Our collection is full of both established and emerging artists. We both attend a lot of auctions and keep an eye on upcoming exhibitions. I think that you know if it's meant to come home when you get a feeling in your stomach. Then once it comes home the piece finds its place on the wall. Some pieces get moves around, changing as they change walls and others never move because they've become a part of the wall they've been paired with.
How do you approach furnishing your space?
I would say I'm a minimalist. When furnishing the apartment I wanted the high ceilings, and big windows to have the space to be appreciated.
Simple pieces in each room range from high end designer furniture to cheap finds and second-hand gumtree treasures.
I like for each room to be no more than its name. We simply have a bed in the bedroom, floor lamps in place of bedside tables, and no dresser.
In the heart of bustling Darlinghurst, spaces for quiet and calm are needed, and for me the less clutter in your space, the better.
How do you prepare for a dinner party?
I'm a huge entertainer, often getting in trouble for entertaining too often. I love prepping the apartment for a dinner party and planning the menu, the guest list, the wine and setting the table.
I usually write the menu and wine/cocktail list a couple of days beforehand, and set the table the night before. Making sure to soak the cutlery in boiling water and white vinegar to remove and residual water marks ( a very OCD moment).
The day of, I usually do a huge clean so everything is sparkling, then head to Harris Farm for flowers and ingredients, via the bottle shop for Negroni essentials. Returning home to cook/prepare whilst listening to music or a podcast.
And of course, a pre-guest arrival cocktail whilst frantically running around doing finishing touches and lighting candles, and a post guest sauternes or tea in the lounge room to debrief on the night.