An Interview with Anna Ullman
Prepare to fall for the artist's color-blocked mono-prints
If art can be "fashion-y", Anna Ullman’s abstract works are decidedly so. The organic swathes of pigment that adorn her mono-prints and paintings have an air of Céline about them—unfussy in their loose, modern simplicity, yet demanding of consideration. This makes perfect sense, given the fact that the RISD alum’s résumé includes stints working for fashion stylist Jeanne Yang and sketching for Kelly Wearstler’s jewelry line, and her current day job consists of helping to produce photo shoots and lookbooks for LA-based Mother Denim. “I spend a lot of time on my colors—mixing them, thinking about them, collecting inspiration for them,” says Ullman. “It’s my favorite part of anything I do.” We paid a visit to Ullman’s West Hollywood digs to admire her home gallery (newly stocked with glitter etchings), her latest bounty from Pasadena's Rose Bowl Flea Market (a collection of brass dirilyte stirrers she snagged on a trip with her friend and mentor, Better Homes and Gardens’ East Coast Design Editor Eddie Ross), and to chat all things creative. Click here to see more of Ullman's works.
Where do you think your vocational attraction to fashion and art comes from?
My mom is actually an artist and a designer so I’ve grown up surrounded by both my entire life. She’s an art director at Velvet by Graham & Spencer so she’s also in fashion. I went to RISD and I wanted to major in fine arts because I love it so much and I like to get dirty and use my hands, but I also grew up working on my mom’s photo shoots all the time, so I used my summer internships to minor in fashion. I’ve always gone back and forth with art and apparel.
What is your ideal palette?
It’s very bipolar. Half of my work contains the same four colors that I love: blacks and whites and mustards and blues. But another part of me is really into glitter and hot pink and craziness. I definitely have a customer for that part too, though [the work] is not always the most boyfriend-friendly.
Who are your artistic influences?
From a very young age I’ve been super inspired by Alexander Calder—I just went to his show at LACMA, and it’s crazy. Gerhard Richter takes my breath away, and Andrew Wyeth is also one of my favorites.
You’re a dedicated flea market shopper. Is there anything you’re always looking for?
I have five vendors that I always attack for Eames desk chairs—anything Eames, I’m beyond obsessed. I also love Dorothy Thorpe plates.
You only recently started to sell your pieces on Instagram when people contacted you wanting to buy your work. What’s next?
I’m on a new gallery site in New York called InSituWorks. I also just did the artwork on the packaging for an upcoming fragrance line by my friend Andrew Mulne that will launch in the fall. And I’m also working on a collection of smaller, super-affordable watercolor prints—basically, a Miu Miu to my Prada.
Follow Ullman on Instagram @AEUStudio.