What would you do differently to what you do now?
To make good work you have to take risks, and sometimes bad decisions lead to good work, so it’s difficult to say what I would change. I might tell my younger self to wear sunscreen and a hat, and not be held back by self-doubt or criticism when it comes to being an artist. I don’t think I would change the way I have approached art making. It’s a lot of trial and error, much like living.
Who inspires you and why?
In my formative years I was completely enamored by circus, variety and burlesque superstars like Julie Atlas Muz, Moira Finucane, Azaria Universe, The Town Bikes and The Wau Wau Sisters because they were/are strong, subversive, unique and thought-provoking performers. I’m pinching myself that I get to work with these artists now. I draw a lot of inspiration from pop-culture icons and visual artists such as Yayoi Kasuma, David Bowie, Leigh Bowery, Yoko Ono, Vali Exxport, Anohni, Tilda Swinton, Grace Jones, Cindy Sherman, MIA, I could go on… I’ve been very fortunate to work with and be directed by Anni and Maude Davey for several years now. They’ve had a huge influence on my work and helped me to be more courageous.
What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I would find a way to get funding reinstated to the Australia Council so it can continue to support independent artists and the small to medium arts companies. This is where so much interesting and progressive work is made. Think of all the mind-blowing art that will not be made now as a result of these devastating cuts.
Favourite holiday destination and why?
Most of my travel revolves around work so hotels or long transits (which are very much part of the touring lifestyle for circus performers and musicians) don’t feel like a holiday. If I want to relax I normally head to our family beach house at Phillip Island, it’s cosy and low key. A holiday for me is somewhere humble and relaxed with good company.
When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I take my friends to theatre shows because arts, like a good meal – who doesn’t love to eat. Joe’s Shoestore for cocktails because it’s local, coffee because Melbourne has the best. Normally friends visit when they are part of a festival or show so often we catch up over a post show drink and keep day activities casual.
What are you currently reading?
M-Train by Patti Smith and Clothes Clothes Clothes, Music Music Music, Boys Boys Boys by Viv Albertine. I’m only a few pages into each!
What are you currently listening to?
Lemonade by Beyonce, and Grace by Jeff Buckley (reliving my teenage years). Anything that falls into the electro, retro, future genre for the show, everything from Bowie and Velvet Underground to FKA Twigs and MIA.
Good food and conversation, making art, collaborating with inspiring people, cuddles from my son.
What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully more collaborations with interesting artists, I have some exciting solo projects underway. Travel – I’d like to take my son on tour to Europe and the UK. I’m working on a children’s show, Super Amazing Giant Girl that will debut in the Melbourne Fringe. I’d like to read more.
Anna will be appearing in Retro Futurismus: New World – a colossal future-focussed vaudeville – at fortyfivedownstairs: 7 – 31 July 2016. For more information, visit: www.fortyfivedownstairs.com for details.
Image: Anna Lumb (supplied)