Seeing the Uncanny with Anna Di Mezza August 07 2022


Anna Di Mezza is a painter from the Blue Mountains. She has a background in the study of graphic design and has also worked in the television animation industry for ten years as an inbetweener for Walt Disney Television Animation.

Her work has been featured globally in art magazines and well known art blogs. She has exhibited in several galleries in NSW starting with her first solo show in 2017. This is her third solo show at Outré Gallery.

Interview by Gab Lewis. Photos supplied by Anna Di Mezza.

Welcoming back the wonderfully talented Anna Di Mezza to our gallery walls! We're so pleased to have you joining us once again for a solo show, enlighten us and our viewers on what we have to look forward to this time.

I am so excited to be showing at Outré again! You can expect to see larger works reminiscent of billboards and more of a Pop art feel to the work, although the surreal ideas are still hanging in there.

You have mentioned your interest in portraying the bizarre and surreal, creating a sense of surprise and even mystique! Can you talk us through the significance of prompting viewers to experience this sensation?

I enjoy evoking some sort of reaction to my work, and diving into the absurd and surreal is how I like to explore this.

Utilising found and sourced imagery, what do you look for in a reference when designing your works? Do you have an archive of collected imagery?

I definitely veer towards photos from the 50 and 60s. Mostly they are from anonymous subject sources with the occasional glamorous movie star thrown in. I keep a collection of images on my computer. I choose images that have the potential to add my own twist to turn the scene into something else. I feel like I am building my own little world.

Looking at the featured works of this show we can see a slight departure from your previous works with the introduction of the 'scene splice' visual. What prompted this and what are you hoping to convey to your audience?

Yes, there is a definite departure from my previous works from the past few years. My latest influence is Pop Art, particularly the artists from that era, James Rosenquist and Tom Wesselmann, who used striking images that are seemingly unrelated. I still have some surreal work in the show, so it's a bit of a mix.

Is there a show favourite for you, perhaps a piece that was most enjoyable to create?

I really enjoyed the cars in Devereux. That one would have to be my favourite from this show due to the fun challenge of replicating the lighting of the cars and the satin fabric of the dress.

Your work has a cinematic quality. What role does film and narrative play in your practice? Do you have any favourite films or directors to call on for inspiration?

A strong narrative tends to be a theme in my work. I like to convey some tension in a similar way a film may create. Unlike a film though, I only show one frame of the story. The viewer can come to their own conclusions. Hitchcock and film noir have been a definite inspiration for the latest works.

Give us an insight to a creative day in the life of Anna Di Mezza: what does a successful day of creating look like for you?

I am a morning person. There is no working into the later hours for me. I get up early and work till midday whilst listening to music or a podcast. A lot can be done in that time due to there being minimal distractions at that time of the day.

We'd love to hear about your process in building a series for this show. Where did it all begin when contemplating your solo exhibition?

My first piece was Van De Kamps with the splice effect. I really liked where that was going and so I continued painting more work in this kind of style and see where that led me after that.

Do you have any old faithful prompts that you can rely on to remedy artists' block or reignite your creative flame?

When artists' block strikes, it's a good idea to take a break from the studio, maybe go for a walk, watch good movies or visit art galleries. Listening to music and art documentaries can be inspiring too.

Your works often touch on topical social and political themes, while incorporating comedy and a sense of foreboding. Is this equilibrium important to you?

Yes, I like to have a balance of humour and morbidity in my work, much like life itself without it getting depressing.

This exhibition shows a shift in scale with a focus on composition. How has this change impacted your practice? Will we see more large scale from you moving forward?

I found it a pleasant challenge to do the larger work. Obviously they take more time and the scale requires more detailed attention. I have some larger works planned in the near future... It also depends on the subject. Some works suit smaller canvases better I think.

What else can we expect to see next from you? Do you have anything exciting lined up that we should stay tuned for?

I will just continue to do the work and hopefully more shows in the future will come from that.