Studio Visit

Brutalist Architecture Meets Contemporary Art In The Paintings Of Annalisa Ferraris

Artist Annalisa Ferraris has always had a fascination with brutalist architecture. Her paintings bear the distinct structured, minimalist features this architectural style is known for. But that’s where the similarities stop, because while brutalist architecture favours function over design, Annalisa’s art is unashamedly decorative.

The Sydney based artist works in a large warehouse-like studio with four other artists, whose support and shared creative passion make going to work everyday a joy.

Bea Taylor

Annalisa inside her studio space with her French bulldog, Peanut! Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

The floor to ceiling windows make it the perfect place to work, filled with natural light. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Her interest in brutalist, minimalist architecture is woven through her paintings. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

‘With my most recent show, I wanted the works to offer an escape, inspired by memories from travelling around the world,’ Annalisa says. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Painter tape covers the walls of her studio, which she says is ‘the best studio she’s ever had’! Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

‘I’ve always been drawn to the more creative outlets, from very early on. So naturally, I gravitated towards those subjects, opposed to say maths – which is still at times perplexing,’ Annalisa explains. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

She’s been painting full-time for almost 10 years now. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Some of her works are completed in a day, while others she finds herself sitting with for months and months! Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Hard-edge abstract lines and bright colour characterise Annalisa’s pieces. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

‘Art-making is a means of expression, that endeavours to offer something greater, richer, deeper to those who view it,’ Annalisa offers. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Bea Taylor
19th of April 2022

When Annalisa Ferraris isn’t painting her brutalist-inspired pieces, she’s renovating or helping out on the family vineyard; ‘but that only pays in wine’, she says. 

Painting has been her full-time job for 10 years. She expertly creates her minimalist, semi-abstract art using painters tape to help get the hard-edge lines her work is known for. ‘Almost every inch of the studio is covered in paint lathered strips of blue tape,’ she says. 

Recently, though, Annalisa has been delving into sculpture, exploring the distinction between fine art and functional design. This foray has led her to design her own capsule collection of furniture, FERRARIS, which will be released later this year. 

She spoke to us about her journey into art:

Firstly, tell us about your studio…

My studio is in a big warehouse in Alexandria, with floor to ceiling windows, it’s a light filled hub of activity. Shared with four other artists, Marissa Purcell, Alan Jones, Ash Frost and Graziela Guardino, the space is always buzzing with activity, and there’s always someone to turn to if you need advice or want to whinge about something. I’ve only been there about eight months, but it’s the best studio I’ve ever had, and I’ve had some great studios in my time (once I had an entire top floor of a pub, with city views, little to no rent, and on demand food/wine delivery).

But it’s the people that make this space, the feeling that you’re not chipping away at an impossible dream all on your own. That there are others, just as mad, just as eager, working religiously and rigorously everyday. They’ve all taught me so much, and their support and company is what makes it.

What is the process of actually making one of your artworks?

I find it very hard to give a length of time to a work, as they all vary so much. Sometimes I’ll sit with a work for months and months, and others are finished in a day. It depends on how they feel. In terms of material and tools, I usually plan my paintings by either sketching them out on paper or lightly on the canvas – to try and establish a composition and see whether or not it’s working. From there I use a lot of tape, (painters tape) to line up forms and plains of colour in the works. And in no time at all, almost every inch of the studio is covered in paint lathered strips of blue tape, dancing off the walls – as the painting comes together with deep contrasting shadows, colliding plains of colour and soft pastels. 

What’s your favourite thing about being an artist? 

My favourite thing would have to be; an artists ability to continuously evolve, and push our concept and our work, all the while thinking and questioning the philosophies and ideas around why we do what we do. I don’t think there’s much time carved out for people to think introspectively and freely, with little framework. 

your work is influenced by some of Australia’s most accomplished architects – can you elaborate on this? Do you have any key references or inspirations?

I’ve always had a fascination and love of brutalist, minimalist architecture, which can be attributed to having spent my childhood growing up in Castlecrag (on Sydney’s lower North Shore). Founded by Walter and Marion Burley Griffin, Castlecrag is a small suburb scattered with incredible houses, buildings and bushland. A real nucleus of inspiration. 

How can people purchase your work?

Directly from my Sydney studio (contact via Instagram or email) or James Makin Gallery Melbourne, and Mitchell Fine Art Brisbane.

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