Meet Anna Speaker, Our New Studio Director!
A native of the Central Coast, Anna has lived all around the Bay Area since attending Sonoma State University for her BA in Art History. In that time, she has worked for several nonprofit arts organizations in the areas of exhibition, fundraising, operations and education programming, and completed a Museum Studies graduate program at John F. Kennedy University in Berkeley.
A serial dabbler in many art media including ceramics, bronze foundry, steel sculpture and printmaking, her most recent works combine mixed water-based media, sculpture and found objects. Anna is excited to add more skills to her toolkit through taking classes at the RAC!
Q. What do you find most inspiring about working in studio art?
A. The best part about this job is seeing students learn and build their skills, and then seeing the amazing work they create with those skills. I am continually inspired by their creativity, ingenuity and passion. Don’t be surprised to see me pop my head into the classroom – it’s the best part of my day!
Q. Tell us about your personal art practice? What artists and styles inspire you?
A. I’ve worked with a lot of different media, depending on what I have access to at the time. I was wholly devoted to sculpture in college, but since then, until starting here at the RAC, I haven’t had access to the equipment and studio space to do it. Because of this, I shifted towards working on 2-D surfaces, which are a lot easier to manage on the kitchen table. I credit Stella Zhang, an artist I used to work with at another organization, for introducing me to the idea of using cheap, hardware-store materials in fine art. Now I buy the extra-large tubs of spackle. I’m most inspired by the weather-worn surfaces I see in the old parts of cities, and the surprising forms of biology under the microscope. My most jaw-dropping moment was seeing Jay De Feo’s “The Rose” at the SFMOMA.
Q. What do you like to do when you’re not at the Art Center?
A. We just bought a fixer-upper house in Vallejo, so most of my time outside of the RAC is devoted to that project. Plumbing for Dummies is my bedtime reading. We do also try to make a little time each week to explore somewhere we haven’t been in the Bay Area. We’re new to the East Bay, so the list is long!
Q. What’s on your bucket list?
A. One of these days, I am going to properly learn to play my bass guitar.
Q. If you could meet one artist, living or not, who would it be and why?
A. I learned the hard way that you should never meet your heroes, but I’d take that risk for David Bowie.