Aneka Ingold — ARTIST

Aneka Ingold

Interview with artist Aneka Ingold —

Aneka Ingold
Aneka is one of ten 2019 The Bennett Prize Finalists. The winner will be announced at the opening exhibition on May 2, 2019 at the Muskegon (Michigan) Museum of Art. See all ten finalists here:

1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Aneka Ingold and I am a mixed media artist. My undergraduate degree is in painting and my graduate degree is drawing. I was born in 1979 in Holland, Michigan. I teach Drawing at The University of Tampa and Design at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, FL.


Mixed Media on Paper 30” x 22” 2018


2. Why art? 
For me, art is a catharsis and self-examination. Through art making I’m able to process thoughts and feelings that are hard to verbalize. There is a drive to create images that help me learn more about myself and the world around me. I also hope to communicate larger ideas about female identity through my imagery.

3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an artist?
I used to draw all the time when I was in elementary school. My friends were always asking me to draw things for them and it was a way of connecting with people. I also used to cut out pictures from magazines and books, much to the chagrin of my parents. I would arrange the cut-out pieces and make collages. It was a way of exploring images and ideas and using my imagination to invent little worlds.


“Planting a Seed”
Mixed Media on Paper 30” x 22” 2018


4. What are your favorite subject(s) and media(s)?
The figures in my drawings are always female and in some way, there is a part of me described in each character as well as an attempt to represent a shared female experience. I document and invent women that I hope will teach me about what it means to be a woman. I intuitively tell the stories that are not just my own, but that of my family, friends and the women that have permeated my life. There are also women with whom I identify with from different time periods and cultures, which inherently trickle into my narratives and inform me further about life as a woman.

I use a wide range of media as well as mark-making techniques to create a collage aesthetic. This includes, but is not limited to, water based paints, paint pens and colored pencils. Not being tied down to any one way of rendering contributes to a creative flow of energy and stream of consciousness. If I try to control this process too much it loses the excitement and mystery for me and I stop learning from it.


“Live and Let Live”
Mixed Media on Paper 50” x 60” 2019


5. How do you work and approach your subject?
I use an intuitive approach to art making and rely on my instincts to create my narratives. The most effective way for me to create is to examine a collection of both contemporary and historical images and then examine the meaning. I collect my source material from books and magazines and take photographs of the people and things around me. I make instinctual choices regarding what images and symbols to collect, and in retrospect I often find that these things provoke deep thought within me and challenge my idea of what is normal and accepted by society. Sometimes I reflect on memories or dreams that are connected to the images I’ve found. As I near the finish of the piece I allow myself to analyze it thoroughly. I write down ideas about the connections found between objects and symbols and why they are significant to me within my own visual history as well as try to be aware of a more universal understanding of the symbolism.

6. What are your favorite art work(s), artist(s)?

My all-time favorite artist is Frida Kahlo. I am deeply inspired by her extreme perseverance in her fight for her political causes, her ability to live outside of the confines of society, and her power to overcome extreme personal pain. She was able to skillfully reveal some of the her most intimate experiences and emotions through layers of rich symbolism within her self-portraits. Frida continues to have an impact on the women of today and I believe her artwork exudes hope in the face of great obstacles.


Mixed Media on Paper 50” x 40” 2019


7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
I think the best response to my work is when someone says they understand or relate to something in the narrative. I am so grateful for the women who have seen my art and come forward to say that they have been through something too. I am completely liberated in sharing the pain and confusion of the female experience. It becomes an opportunity to commune with women and truly see and celebrate growth and progress.

8. What do you like about your work?
One of the things I like most about my art is the color. Color plays a really important role in my work. Color can provoke emotional responses, stimulate memories and be symbolic in many ways. I teach color theory in my design class and it’s my favorite part of the semester. I really enjoy talking to my students about how color effects mood and directs the viewers’ response to artwork.


Mixed Media on Paper 30” x 22” 2019


9. What advice would you give to other artists?
Make what you love and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. For a period of time I tried to make work that I thought other people would like and ended up very unhappy. Take risks with your artwork and make it your own. I think there is great fulfillment in that. I remember reading a quote by David Bowie once where he said, “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” I think about this every time I start a new piece of art and get excited.

10. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
I hope to have continued recognition for my art. I’d also love to have a better studio and more time to create. I currently teach full time and paint in my bedroom. Artmaking can also be a challenge with my two little kids running around, even though they do often inspire my work. In 5-10 years they will be a little older and more self-sufficient. I’d love to be in a position where I could be a full-time artist. Having more opportunities like The Bennett Prize as well as a chance to finally have good gallery representation at RJD Gallery where I sell my artwork, will certainly help facilitate this. Regardless of what happens in the future, I know I will still be making art because it is and always has been such a big part of me and my life.



Aneka Ingold



Instagram: @anekaingold
Facebook: Aneka Ingold


ANEKA INGOLD’s artwork consists of ambiguous narratives combining flat color and pattern with realism. She specializes in mixed media techniques, combining drawing and painting processes. As an undergraduate student at Grand Valley State University, Aneka was the recipient of the Alexander Calder Honors Scholarship and the Advanced Visual Arts Scholarship. She received her MFA at Kendall College of Art and Design where she was awarded the Kendall Scholarship of Merit Award in 2011 and in 2013.
 In 2016, Ingold was awarded first place by juror Carrie Ann Baade at the Valdosta National All-Media Juried Competition at Dedo Maranville Fine Arts Gallery, Valdosta State University in Georgia. She was the featured artist at the national juried exhibition, Women in Art, at Las Laguna Art Gallery in Laguna Beach, California. Her work was also selected by Juror Elizabeth McGrath for the Surreal Salon 8, at Baton Rouge Center for Contemporary Art, presented by Juxtapoz magazine.
 In 2015, she was the grand prize winner at the Vying show during Miami Art Basel, at Viophilia Gallery in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami. Other exhibitions of 2015 include Strange Figurations at Limner Art Gallery in Hudson, New York, and Immortality and Vulnerability at Zhou B Art Center in Chicago.
 Ingold’s art has been published in INDA: International Drawing Annual, presented by Manifest Creative Research and Drawing Center. The Annual is designed to support the recognition, documentation, and publication of excellent, current and relevant works of drawing from around the world. Her work has also been published in the magazine Poets and Artists, curated by Sergio Gomez of 33 Contemporary Gallery in Chicago, as well as the drawing textbook, “Drawing Essentials: A Guide to Drawing from Observation,” by Deborah Rockman.
 Major collections include the Howard A. and Judith Tullman Art Collection in Chicago, West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan and the University of Tampa.
As an adjunct professor, Ingold currently teaches drawing at the University of Tampa and design at Hillsborough Community College.




Lisa Freeman


Lisa Freeman is an Arts Illustrated’s Correspondent, representing the United Kingdom.
Lisa is also a Public Relations Director for – Quite Great PR & Marketing in Cambridge.