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Even in the deepest, darkest recesses of Instagram, Annalisa Ferraris' artworks stand out. Not just for their exuberant colours, from candy pink to midnight blue to jade green, but for the Sydney-based artist’s extraordinary interpretations of the ordinary. Witness a cocktail placed on a lipstick smeared serviette, a pastel pink mid-century motel named Dreamgirls, and a heavily frosted slice of cake beside an ashtray. Her work is bold, evocative and transporting.
On a recent afternoon, the artist welcomed The Memo into her sun-filled studio apartment in Darlinghurst. In anticipation of her guests, Ferraris put out a beautiful spread of cheese and fruit, styled as though it was ready toas be captured for a still-life. Hosting, it turned out, is in her blood—her family own the Ferraris Estate winery in the Hunter Valley. Like her paintings, Ferraris exudes warmth and familiarity. During our visit, she opened up about her inspirations, her career trajectory, and, of course, her beauty cabinet must-haves.
TM: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became the artist you are today?AF: “During my time at NAS (The National Art School) I wasn’t exactly a diligent student—often in trouble, always late and occasionally hungover. But I loved being there and after completing my degree I ended up graduating with honours. After graduating, I had a few exhibitions here and there but I thilink it was my first exhibition,“Pools” at Sydney’s China Heights Gallery in 2015, that really defined my style and future as an artist.”
Has your style evolved since that first exhibition? “In the beginning I was predominantly painting empty swimming pools and the occasional urban landscape in a hard-edge minimalist style. But, as I’ve developed, my subject matter has broadened and I feel like my application has loosened. I want to paint more than just abandoned pools. I want to translate that feeling of boozy highways, marginal roadside motels and their dusty interiors, and still-life moments that read like scenes from The Godfather.”
What’s a typical day in your studio like?“As an artist it’s important to have a routine in order to develop discipline, particularly in an industry with little structure or sequence. An ideal day would be waking up early for a run around Centennial Park, a dip in the ocean, followed by a quick coffee and then into the studio. Usually I’ll work pretty solidly until the afternoon, stopping for a few coffee breaks and to play with my dog, Peanut. Maybe a Pilates class in the evening and then capped off with a wine while looking over the day’s work!”
What’s been an exciting career moment for you?“Probably my first solo show at China Heights Gallery. It sold out on opening night with around four hundred people seeing it, which was flattering and reassuring. My next two exhibitions that followed shortly after at Ellery’s flagship boutique in Sydney and The Slow in Bali also exceeded any expectations and were exciting to be involved in."
Do you have all-time favourite artist or inspiration?“David Hockney for his painting style and subject matter. My favourite work of his would be ‘A Bigger Splash’. It’s full of movement yet incredibly still at the same time, not to mention the colour palette is perfection. Mark Rothko is another, for his romantic ability to convey so much with so little. It’s a helpful reminder to keep things minimal.”
Talk us through your everyday beauty routine and the products you swear by.“Pretty much anything by Hourglass but particularly their brow pencil. I’ve got big, bushy brows and this just helps fill in any patches and gives them structure. I’m particular about my eyebrows, and I’ve been going to the same beautician for 10 years to have them tidied up when they get a little too Frida Kahlo. I use Chantecaille Le Camouflage Concealer under my eyes. It’s light yet effective with dark circles. If I need more coverage I’ll use Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation. It’s hydrating, light and really dewy. I’m actually not great with brushes, unless they’re for painting, but the Hourglass Powder Brush designed for their Ambient Lighting Bronzer is failsafe. I like to use my fingers to apply the Mecca Cosmetica Enlightened highlighter. I’m currently obsessed with Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara and one coat makes a big impact. I finish with Hourglass Confession Lipstick in “I Always” as a lip stain, applying a little then blending with my fingers. It’s the perfect hot pink.”
viewing of products
Which products are in your skin care rotation at the moment?“I spend a lot of time in the ocean and the sun and have become increasingly obsessed with moisturisers. At the moment I’m religiously applying three Tatcha products. To start The Essence, which my skin drinks up, then the Dewy Skin Night Concentrate, which is a slightly strange consistency and feels super hydrating. I’m terrified of wrinkles, so I’m being diligent with the Luminous Deep Hydrating Eye Serum.
Your favourite beauty icon?“Edie Sedgwick because of her wild dark brows and white-blonde boy cut.”
Do you have go-to fragrances?“Byredo Accord Oud is my favourite at the moment. I like the dichotomy of a masculine sandalwood element mixed with a feminine strength. There’s something sexy and powerful about it. I usually put that on in the evening. For day, I wear Comme des Garcons Wonderwood.”
You have plenty of candles dotted around your house. Do you light them depending on your mood?“Yes, definitely! I light Byredo Vanquish when I’m finis hed in the studio because it’s so relaxing and makes the apartment feel more inviting after being covered in paint all day. I keep Diptyque Baies in the bathro om because I think it should feel luxurious and there’s something about that big black candle that exudes elegance and a sense of luxury.”
What are you working on at the moment and when can we see your next series of works?“I’m working on my next big solo show, and I’m planning to incorporate large-scale ceramics. I’m exploring the possibility of a post-feast scene in the middle of the gallery—I want viewers to feel like they’re in one of my paintings. It’s a wild idea but I’ll keep working on it. The exhibition is set to open in July 2019 at China Heights Gallery Sydney ”
Photography by Daphne NguyenInterview by Louisa de KievitMakeup by Janelle JerusalemHair by Luana CosciaNovember 2018