10 Questions with Artist Anne Magill

Anne Magill is rapidly building a strong following amongst an exclusive international audience, with works held in major private and corporate collections worldwide.

After studying at St. Martin’s School of Art, and gaining early success as an innovative and award-winning commercial artist, Magill’s iconic subjects and narrative style made an easy transition into fine art, with her first solo exhibition taking place in 1992. Anne’s style has steadily developed, with exhibitions in prestigious galleries in London, Europe, and the United States.


Untitled, Anne Magill (b.1962) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images


Rich and atmospheric texture, epic silhouettes, timeless context, and infinitely subtle tonal notes, have become Magill’s distinctive creative signature.

Anne Magill’s portraits, landscapes and contextual urban and rural canvases evoke a powerful vision unparalleled by her contemporaries.

Born in Ireland, she now lives and works in South East England. Bridgeman Studio visited her for an interview.


Untitled, Anne Magill (b.1962) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images


1. What is your earliest memory of an artwork and who was it by?

I suppose Constable’s ‘The Haywain’ that hung on the wall of my family’s home for years. It was always just ‘there’ so I took it for granted really.

When I was very young I was given an old crumbling volume of the ‘World’s Greatest paintings’, I was utterly entranced and obsessed by two paintings in there. One was Dante’s Doge Leonardo Doredan - a magnificent  portrait -
And the other Henry Haliday’s Dante and Beatrice. The aged yellowing pages were well thumbed and the colour plates of the paintings were stuck onto them and that somehow made the images even more special to me.
I still have the book! 


Nocturne, Anne Magill (b.1962) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images


2. Where did you study?

Central Saint Martins. 

3. You orginally trained as an illustrator, how has this affected your painting practice?

Well I tend to work quickly and intensely on a painting, have the composition worked out beforehand and just get stuck into it. That’s certainly continued from my illustration days... the tight deadline too - I start early and endeavour to have the work finished by the end of the day. I've inherited that too, when I did a great deal of reportage work earlier on in my career and would get lost in working in the spot - in flow - and when it was finished the was it - I found it hard to rework and keep the same ‘feel the work. It’s the same now... if I dawdle too much it the painting gets lost, loses freshness and I lose interest in it and in my head have moved on to another. 


Nearly Hour, Anne Magill (b.1962) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images


I like that urgency and not being too precious about work...when I was an illustrator, photoshop wasn’t around, changes in the brief were commonplace and frequently the deadline didn’t change so I had to crack on and paint another one. 

I keep on working on a work until I’m happy with how it looks and know where to carry on the next day. I know myself enough not to know that if I leave the room displeased then there’s a good chance that it’ll go unfinished.


Untitled, Anne Magill (b.1962) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images


4. What is your favourite time of day to be in your studio?

There are possibly two!

If all is going well, then first thing in the morning! 6-7am. I pop into the studio and look at what has been produced the day before with a fresh eye. I try to be objective, critical…keep a distance. I leave to go to the gym then return about an hour later - awash with caffeine, quickly circle the studio, tidy up from the mess of the previous night's work, set up and crack on.

However….The best most productive working time for me is around 2.30-9.30 pm. Although I've been working for a few hours already, the painting becomes easier to "see", to get the feel of it right. The daylight changes. By then the whole painting is blocked in and easier to read and everything just flows better.


Untitled, Anne Magill (b.1962) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images


5. If you could pick 5 artists, dead or alive, to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Oh this is tough.. I love what I do but I'm naturally curious and enjoy learning about other 'stuff' so I think that I'd particularly enjoy talking to artists who are naturally curious about 'the world' and beyond their work.

So, these are in no particular order...I think these five would be interesting guests - clever, inquisitive, and full of enthusiasm for what they do, and good fun too…and I enjoy their work. 

Grayson Perry - AND he like motorcycles, which I do too. Cornelia Parker, I like her work very much, and her process, I find the journey to the final pieces is fascinating. In painting...Alex Katz - at a time my work was in a state of great change I learnt a great deal from his approach to working and looking and seeing. Finally Andrew Gifford and Joan Eardley.



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