An Interview with Stencil Artist Anna Jaxe

“I think a lot of instruments are just artworks in their own right because they are just so amazing to look at” explains my latest interviewee Anna Jaxe. Sitting in the MAP cafe in Kentish Town she’s just painted a piano on the side wall. A 12-layer stencil, it’s an ambitious piece of work to say that it’s also her first actual street piece.

Looking inside the piano, there’s something about the structure of the instrument that Anna finds fascinating. “I’ve seen a lot of videos of Chris Martin playing the piano live and I think his piano is awesome because it’s really colourful and he always plays it open so you can see the notes.” Her father too played the piano and she would look forward to the tuner coming round just so that she could see the notes on the inside. “I just think they’re beautiful” she smiles.

Video Interview with Anna Jaxe

Clearly Anna is influenced by music. The cafe is full of her work much of which depicts instruments on different types of background. She uses old clothing, denim, leather and old bomber jackets to stencil the image onto. Flattened then into the frame, the resultant piece has a unique texture to it.

Fashion is also important in Anna’s work. Music and fashion link together and she is keen to make the connection. “I think they complement each other music and fashion and they often work collaboratively” she told me. The relationship between the clothes people choose to wear and the music they associate with is a concept that Anna seems to be keen to explore within her work.

A 12 layer stencil of a piano by Anna Jaxe outside the MAP studio is Kentish Town
A 12-layer stencil of a piano outside the map studio cafe in Kentish Town

Faroe Islands and London

This hasn’t always been her style though. Initially experimenting with cartoons and then landscapes. She even spent a while living on the Faroe Islands. Isolated and bashed by the waves from all sides “I don’t think there was anywhere on those islands where you couldn’t see the sea” she told me. Torshavn the capital was even where she had her first exhibition, selling work for the first time.

The stencil work though is where her art is now focused. Moving back to London, the scene and the environment obviously changed as well and so the street inspired more urban type of work is where she started to focus. “I think I’ve tried almost everything” she tells me “and I think the way that’s the way you should do it”.

Anna Jaxe in the MAP studio cafe in Kentish Town.
Anna Jaxe next to some of her saxophone stencils in the MAP studio cafe

Inspired by Music

“I am inspired by the accessibility of music” she told me “which is why it features heavily in my work”. Watching the documentary ‘Fresh Dressed‘ also provided an inspiration to her, “I was entranced by how the hip hop movement originated and how it united with fashion to build its own status.”

Anna comes alive when talking about music so it’s no surprise that it is so heavily represented in her art. “My favourite thing is going to see a live show and then looking around and seeing people who are going mad and dancing like crazy like no-ones watching.”

Anna Jaxe was interviewed in the MAP Studio Cafe in Kentish Town on Friday 16 March 2018. She will shortly be exhibiting her work at the Roy’s People’s Art Fair which runs from 12-15 April 2018. The fair will be held at the Bargehouse in the OXO Tower.

Anna Jaxe standing next to her stencil of a piano at the MAP Studio
Anna Jaxe next to her street piece on the side of the MAP Studio Cafe in Kentish Town
anna jaxe
Detail of the piano, a 12-layer stencil
Microphone on a jacket
French Horn on Leather
Saxophones on old jackets
Stencils on vinyl
Torshavn landscape 1 anna  jaxe
A landscape from her first solo show in Torshavn
anna jaxe
Guitar on Jeans

For more Inspiring City articles featuring interviews with artists have a look at:

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