In the spirit of collaboration, Mabel’s Table commissioned Nashville artist Anna Jaap to photograph the Spring/Summer Collection.
It was a perfect fit. Jaap’s large-scale works on canvas and photographic works on paper focus on beauty and connection. In addition to her studio practice, Jaap is currently working on a photo-essay book of Nashville.
While in Santa Fe, Anna met with Mark Oppenheimer, food writer, private chef and friend of Mabel’s Table, for a quick interview at Opuntia in the Baca Railyard District.
MO: What inspires you?
AJ: The wisdom and courage of my friends, the landscape at daybreak and dusk, a good cup of coffee, the poems of Wendell Berry.
MO: Describe your greatest challenge to creating.
AJ: Maintaining my creative space. Andrew Wyeth said you have to be selfish to be a painter. It’s true—the work has to take precedence.
MO: Is there a different process to working on a painting or making a photograph?
AJ: Paintings begin internally and evolve in conversation with my materials—acrylic, graphite, gold leaf. Photographic pieces are a response to a story outside of myself. When the shutter clicks, there’s collaboration with light to capture the truest entry point to that story. Otherwise, the process is similar. Composition and color work. Distillation. Listening. Letting go and allowing the piece to become what it needs to be.
MO: Agnes Martin wrote, “The measure of your life is the amount of beauty and happiness of which you are aware.” What is beauty? And, is beauty important?
AJ: My favorite definition of beauty is “something that gives pleasure to the mind.” We each experience beauty differently. Beauty is generous. It offers joy and asks nothing in return.
MO: What are the turning points, personal or global, at which we realize that we must change our lives?
AJ: Discomfort is a great motivator. Also love.
You can view Anna’s painting and photography on her website.
Photographs by Anna Jaap