Artspire 2021 Virtual Art Fair & Sale • Artist Profiles
Ann Solyst • Fridley, MN
The imaginary animals Ann draws look quite natural. Her sensitive style and subdued palette suggest wildlife illustration, not fantasy drawing, and it takes a second look to notice the fantastic hidden among the regular. She wants people to gravitate toward the beauty of the drawings and then notice that while still beautiful they are different. These are not the kind of animals one encounters in the real world, but rather delightful curiosities. Frogs with wings, a squirrel in a wig, a donkey with leopard spots, these contrary or unexpected combinations are intriguing, thought provoking, or humorous; but all are drawn in an approachable style meant to encourage the viewer to enjoy strangeness rather than ridicule or mistrust it. By enjoying the playful oddity of Ann’s drawings, perhaps the viewer will have a more positive reaction the next time something unfamiliar or strange is encountered.
Working from photo references Ann begins with a simple yet precise outline in charcoal on toned paper. Next she blocks out basic areas of color in pastel, after which she continues to layer pastel, meticulously refining her drawings giving special attention to line and value until her animals reach the desired balance of fantasy and reality. Her focus is on believability rather than realism and she is selective and precise in those details she includes while avoiding details that, although accurate, may not add to the piece of art as a whole. Ann wants her drawings to be playful and true to the character of her subjects.