Annerose Georgeson sits in her studio that is brightly lit by a glass window on the second floor. A quiet presence for being in the centre of town, and a room filled with paintings, sketches and artistic aura.
Painting for Georgeson is her canvas of expression, as she defines herself as a ‘fairly quiet’ person. Her work is mostly abstract, and mainly from nature.
“I think it is a real privilege to do art. A society has to be fairly wealthy to allow that, and if people are struggling to buy food, there isn’t really room for art,” Georgeson says while in conversation about the significance of art in history and culture, including the financial struggles artists endure in getting funded and their difficulty in finding spaces to display their work.
As a painter, she came to the conclusion that art is important, but first went through her own “existential angst”.
“I used to think – what is the point of doing any art, it’s not as essential as nursing or something like that, which is obvious, you are helping people who are dying. So art seemed a little frivolous.”
“But then I think, every day music is a big part of my life. I can’t imagine a day without any music and if I was in a place without any music, I would just sing.”
“Then I think yes – somebody had to make the music, and somebody had to make the images, this is an important thing.”
Georgeson did her Bachelor’s in Fine Arts in drawing mainly, but also studied photography, sculpture and more. She realized she couldn’t make a living solely selling her art, so she picked up a teaching career.
A majority of her earnings comes from teaching and putting up exhibitions of her work.
By not solely relying on the sale of her paintings, Georgeson has managed to find some freedom in her expression.
“If I only sell, then I try making things that people would like to buy and then they don’t really buy it anyway, so this way, I make what I want, because then if they don’t buy it, then who cares!”
One reason her paintings don’t sell that quickly is because they are fairly expensive, as they involve a lot of hours of work. She says she just likes to paint and that’s one of the main reasons she has another profession which helps in supporting her passion.
Currently, Georgeson is getting inspiration from the forest floor. She usually spends time in her environment, observing, and sketching. She uses her sketches as the inspiration for her paintings at the studio.
In terms of style, the Vanderhoof painter is using oil and has worked with acrylic in the past.
“I enjoy oil because it dries slowly and it smells a lot nicer. I love the smell. Oil is more responsive to what I want to express right now.”
Georgeson moved to Canada with her parents from Switzerland at the age of three. Her parents were farmers and found good farm land with an agricultural lease in Vanderhoof, so they moved here from Alberta when Georgeson was 6.
In terms of what she would like to see developed in Vanderhoof for the wide variety of artists in the region, Georgeson says, “it would be really nice to have a little venue where people could sell art and generally those things don’t work well in the north. They are usually attached to something else, either a frame shop, a tourist centre or something. There is no reason we can’t, its just that its not going to pay its rent.”
She says it would also be nice for Vanderhoof to have a Performing Arts Centre for that group of artists. Currently most performing artists use the Nechako Valley Secondary School stage for their performances.
But there are more pressing issues for Vanderhoof’s leaders to deal with, Georgeson said, which makes the arts fall to the bottom of the stack.
“Housing is a huge issue in the community and I agree people should not be searching for housing. There are people who are turning down jobs here because they can’t find a place to live. And for seniors, there are some who are living in really difficult conditions other than being in seniors housing, which is also difficult to access. That is more pressing for leadership than the arts. There will always be things like that”
Lastly, in terms of some advice for artists, Georgeson says, “I think just keep making art and keep making it, and keep making it, and get better.”
“Do it and do it more, and do it for yourself.”
“If you need to do something else to live, its okay, make art in your spare time. You don’t have to do it all the time. If you work a little bit every week, you will get better.”
In a new series, the Express is going to be featuring a local artist every week. The idea is to promote the several artists and art forms in the region. If you know any local artist and would like to see them featured, send the editor an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.