Dreamcatcher Series: An Interview with Artist Anouska Beckwith

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I am so excited to feature a Dreamcatcher Series interview with Anouska Beckwith.

Anouska is an incredible photographer and multidisciplinary London-born artist who currently lives and works in Paris.

Anouska graduated from Speos Photographic Institute in 2012, and has since been awarded with honours for her photograph, Catcher in the Rye, by the alumni of Speos Photographic Institute in 2012/2013.

Nature and the feminine are often present themes throughout her body of work. Anouska’s photographs inspire a romantic and otherworldly feel, revealing a glimpse into her dream like fantasies. Expressing herself through the mediums of photography, art, film and poetry, her work is inspired by her esoteric interest.

Anouska created a short film called ‘A Story of Ophelia’ for the Ritual Exhibition at The Cob Gallery in London, UK. In October 2014 she began collaborating on a short film with Chilean artist Cosmo Gonik, about feminine ritual and hypnosis.

Anouska’s beautiful work has been displayed in many exhibitions across the world.

She has been featured in: Italian Vogue, Wonderland Magazine, Dazed & Confused, Another Magazine, ID, Aesthetica Magazine, Vogue (UK), So It Goes Magazine, Town & Country, Harper’s Bazaar (Brazil, England), Elle Magazine (UK), Marie Claire, Luxx Magazine, Tatler, Huffington Post, Palace Costes Magazine, The Untitled Magazine, Virditas (Magpie Magazine), Creators Connect, After Nyne, The Culture Trip, Refinery 29 & Science Occultes.

And now… she is to be featured here in Mindfood Magpie (surely a pinacle of her illustrious career?! Ha)

I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.

awakened
Awakened

MM: Over the years you’ve produced several photographic series, all of which, to me and many others, have a very beautiful, feminine, dreamy, ethereal and romantic feeling. Would you say that’s a reflection of you and how you see the world? In the sense that you see the magic in nature and within women?

EB: My work is a mirror of what I see or am inspired by in the world. I find beauty, grace, love, the mystical and the surreal something I like to experience in life and through that I create work that reflects these influences.

MM: Your artwork really moves me. It is otherworldly and very real in equal measure. That strikes me as something that’s similar to you… that you’re a very authentic person but also a dreamer… Would you say that’s an accurate reflection?

AB: I think we all have yin and yang qualities inside of us. I feel that we are always evolving and seeking new experiences and some of those are filled with happiness and others leave a bitter taste in our mouths. I feel that when I create work I do not want it to be inaccessible to people. I make work in the hope that it inspires others to dream, appreciate nature and to see beauty.

MM: Have women been a focal point in your personal life and that is reflected in the art? 

AB: I grew up in two very strong matriarchal households, where the women were the foundations that kept the families together so I always believed that women were extremely strong and capable as individuals and as I grew older I realized that women have to be so many roles and mostly are never appreciated. I have had many different types of experiences with women, good and bad. I feel that women are just so multifaceted and that is what intrigues me the most. I find women can be innocent, vulnerable and yet incredibly sexual, versatile and powerful all wrapped up in one individual, it’s fascinating.  

MM: What would you say are you most influenced by, artistically? 

AB: I would say I am influenced by lots of things. I love music and am often inspired by a title of a song, poem or a story I read in a book. 

MM: Who would you say influences you most in your personal life? 

AB: I would say I have a lot of influences in my personal life. I am always inspired by my friends as most of them are creatives so we share our vision of the world and that definitely plays a huge part. I love reading about different philosophies, spirituality and history.  

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Entwined with the birds of hope

MM: How do you choose your photographic subjects?

AB: Most of the time I photograph people I know and that I am inspired by. I will come up with a concept and discuss it with them and we then create the series.

MM: Does it feel like a spiritual experience to collaborate with other people to create beautiful art?

AB: A lot of the time it feels like a spiritual experience as the majority of people I photograph are spiritual. We will often perform rituals prior to shooting and quite often it feels like living in a dream.

MM: Tell us about your spiritual practice? Have you always been spiritual?

AB: I have always been an extremely curious person. I read ‘The Secret Garden’ at a young age and was always seeking to find my own secret garden, wardrobe or portal. I went through different phases of wishing to be Jewish and then Catholic but I never felt that one belief system gave me all the answers. As I got older I stopped believing in anything and this caused me great suffering as I was completely disillusioned but humanity and after a long period of time I realized that this way of thinking didn’t work for me at all. I then went in search for answers and I found that Buddhism, paganism and shamanism were for me the greatest teachers.

MM: What would you say is your proudest achievement?

AB: My two solo exhibitions Transcendence in New York curated by Andi Potamkin and Uni-Verse in London curated by Chloe Hodge.

MM: Would you identify as being a feminist? 

AB: I would say I believe strongly in the equality of women, I feel that as women it important to help empower other women. I think men are vital however, and feel that we should create a harmony between the two sexes rather than create a divide. 

MM: Do you have a personal favourite piece of your own art?

AB: Usually my favourite piece is the most recent work I have creating. I have just shot a new series for AfterNyne magazine called ‘Rainbow Warrior’ featuring the actress/healer Macha Polivka. It is a series I had wished to create for some time using holi paint as I am very inspired by India; I love traveling there and grew listening to stories about the mysticism of the country and people so the series was very special for me.

MM: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?

AB: I think in life you need to believe fully in yourself and follow your dreams, no matter if things aren’t moving as quickly as one would like you just need to stay focused and manifest the reality you wish to live in. Know that you are unique and special and never give up!

MM: If you could go back in time five years, to impart some advice, what would you tell yourself? 

AB: I would tell myself to listen to my instinct when making important decisions.

MM: You live in Paris. Was that somewhere you always felt connected or drawn to?

AB: My grandmother lived in Paris and she would often reminisce about her time spent there in the 1960’s, so I grew up listening to how romantic and beautiful it was. As I got older I became a true Francophile and longed to live there and decided six years ago I should stop fantasizing about living there and just move there instead. It has been a love affair ever since.

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Of Water & Earth

MM: Here’s the classic ‘who would you invite to dinner question’. If you could choose any 5 people dead or alive to dine with, who would you choose? 

AB: I would invite Salvador Dali, Cleopatra, Elvis Presley, Meryl Streep & Yoko Ono.

MM: How did you start making art? Were you an artistic child? 

AB: I have always been an artistic person. My family deeply encouraged creativity and I experimented with art, photography, acting and dance (all things I still love) but I choose to focus on Photography and Art as I feel it important to have a clear voice and then one can evolve into other mediums over time.

MM: You’ve said before that you took a break from making art after you left school. Looking back at that time, do you think you were disconnected from your divine essence because you weren’t expressing yourself creatively? 

AB: Absolutely. I was searching in the darkness for answers that only led to more pain and suffering. I think when you are young, people glamorize death, pain and suffering with the ‘live fast, die young’ mentality which I definitely ascribed to for a period of time. Now looking back I realize what a waste of time feeling like that was. Once I found my own spiritual path, my life instantly began opening up to really special experiences. My art took on a whole new meaning and creating felt like there was a purpose.

MM: What are you currently working on?

AB: Currently I am creating a series to be made into a book called ‘War In Heaven’ which I began during the Paris attacks as way of expressing myself. The series is about angels falling from heaven to help assist with the healing of our planet by sacrificing themselves to Mother Earth.

MM: What are your dreams for the future? 

AB: I would love to live between Paris and Ibiza, having a little farm with a studio. To live off the land and living at one with nature.

Connect with Anouska Beckwith:

anouskabeckwith.com

twitter.com/anouskabeckwith

instagram.com/anouskabeckwith

 

Thanks so much Anouska for a honest and inspiring interview! You’re welcome at the Mindfood Magpie nest anytime!