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Anne Leuck Feldhaus

Artist's Interview

How long have you been creating
Making art always..but just painting about 10 years. In college I was primarily a sculptor although I played around with computer software packages which I believe really helped me develop my color sensibilities. After graduating, I found myself in a corporate job and decided to try painting since I didn't have the money or space to do sculpture.
What other artists and movements inform your work?
Since I was not trained to paint, my subject matter and the way I paint have never been formally criticized so my naive style is more reflective of what I was drawn to as a young child - illustrations in books - Babar, Snoopy, Dr. Seuss, etc. My Dad had a poetry book called the 'Funniest Verses of Ogden Nash' it was filled with incredible illustrations by Seymour Chwast - I used to spend hours looking at the pictures yet was too young to understand the poems. My imagery is influenced by my dreams, my pets and my everyday life. In the future I would like to do a series of paintings based on interviews with people from different walks of life, telling stories that might not otherwise be heard. Some of my favorite painters include Leger, Van Gogh, Matisse, Chagall, Paul Klee, Hollis Sigler.
How would you describe your work?
Bold, Colorful, Whimsical, Narrative, Contemporary, Naive....
What are your motivations for creating?
The incredibly endless number of possibilities, ideas and outcomes...life!
How, if at all, has your art been impacted by the events of 9-11?
If nothing else, it has helped me to let go of my insecurities about making "happy" art - (which I cant seem to control) I had to do an art fair about 10 days after the 9-11 event, I was still very sad, but as I sat in my tent in that beautiful park and watched all these people break into smiles and brighten up when they saw my work, I realized how powerful and important it is to have beautiful uplifting imagery around...it's like music in the way it can change your mood. Also, being able to raise money from the sale of my paintings for the various charities through eBay's Auction For America has been wonderful - I would never be able to afford to give (from my pocket) the over $800 that I have raised. Through the generosity (and love of art) of my customers we have been able to do that...and will continue to until the fundraiser ends on December 25.
What would you like your fellow EBSQ artists and collectors to know about you and or your work?
I have been selling on eBay for one year now and it has been great exposure to an international market, it is an invaluable tool to the self-representing artist. In addition to selling over 100 paintings, I have received several commissions and sold work off my website. I think the collectors make out as well, having the chance to bid on some fabulous art, without the gallery mark-up. Thank you for helping so many artists to succeed at doing what they love! and thanks to John Seed and all of those folks who are now volunteering their time and skills to make EBSQart.com such a professional looking and informative site.
Anne recently had the distinction of bringing in the highest price for Chicago's Suite Home Chicago charity auction. Her "suite" brought in $3600! I asked her about the Suite Home experience. How did you first get involved?
I submitted a proposal to the Chicago Public Art Office - along with hundreds of other people. My proposal included line drawings for several different ideas, "the Suite Commute in Chicago" "Suite Chicago Dogs", and "Suite Smelling Chicago" - furniture covered with flowers. I also included slides, color postcards, etc.
What was the process of finding a sponsor?
Sponsors could go to the Public art office and go through all the submitted files and proposals, they could sponsor single pieces of furniture or full suites, TV, Sofa, Chair & Ottoman. I was lucky enough to get a phone call from the Marketing Manger of HomeLife Furniture, Kate Haggerty. She said she loved my designs and the color in my work and thought it would be a wonderful draw for children and families (HomeLife's customer base). While I had submitted a couple different design ideas, it was the dogs on the chair and the ottoman that she really liked. She gave me free rein to do whatever I wanted on the rest of the pieces of furniture as long as it was 'dog' themed. The rest of the images were based on my initial idea of the "suite commute" in Chicago - only I substituted dogs for people, riding in a taxi, sailing, shopping, gazing up at an airplane, playing at Doggie Beach (a real place here on the Lakefront).
Where was your suite installed?
My suite was one of the first ones out - Memorial Day weekend, it was located at 750 North Michigan Avenue, a very high profile corner in Chicago. It was on the sidewalk in front of the Ralph Lauren Store, the sofa provided a perfect view of the Water Tower and the John Hancock Building.
Did you get any reactions from people who experienced your work while it was installed?
I do art fairs all summer, and had lots of people tell me they had taken photos on it, eaten their lunch there etc. Early in the summer, someone said the sofa seat was covered with pennies - people were treating it like a fountain and making wishes (it had the lakefront scene on it).
Did you have any interactions from others involved in this process?
Several other artists that I know participated, we traded tips on the painting process, some of them had participated in Cows on Parade two years ago and told me what kind of primer and sealer to use.
How will your suite be used by the winning bidder?
A woman in Wisconsin bought mine and (several others) after, I must add, a bidding war with one of my eBay customers in California who had never even seen the furniture in person. She said her purchases will have new homes inside and outside some of her furniture stores. Some also will be placed on the 60-acre grounds of the company's planned corporate headquarters.
Have you participated in other local charity events? How did this experience compare?
I donate a lot of work for charity auctions - but nothing has come close to an event like this - it was a great experience, I even got paid to do it, generated a lot of press and helped out a great cause (all the proceeds from the auction went to the Y-Me Breast Cancer Organization).

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