FOOD | ARTS | COMMUNITY | STYLE+LEISURE
IN LIVING COLOR
INSIDE THE MIND OF ARTIST ANN MARIE VANCAS
FOR SOME OF US, CREATING ART IS A WAY OF LIFE, A PART OF WHO WE ARE, JUST LIKE BREATHING. FOR ANN MARIE VANCAS,
THE PROCESS OF CREATION IS BROUGHT TO LIFE WITH THE HELP OF A UNIQUE CONDITION CALLED “SYNESTHESIA.” SYNESTHESIA
IS WHERE THE EXPERIENCES OCCURRING IN ONE SENSORY PATHWAY (FOR ANN MARIE IT’S MUSIC) LEAD TO A SIMULTANEOUS,
AUTOMATIC INVOLUNTARY EXPERIENCE IN A SECOND SENSORY. WHICH LITERALLY MEANS WHEN ANN MARIE HEARS MUSIC, HER MIND
TRANSLATES SEEING WHAT SHE IS HEARING INTO BOLD, LIVING COLOR. AN ARTISTIC PROCESS SHE HAS COINED AS “SENSUISM.”
Can you tell us about the term
I created the word “sensuism” because I
felt the process of creating art was just as
important, if not more so, than just describ-
ing the style. My style is a mix of surrealism
and abstract expressionism. I have an
intense love of music. I have always had
music in the background to get me through
life. It was an invisible hand to hold me
up, when I thought I could not accom-
plish something. I suffer from anxiety and
sometimes crippling shyness. I had a kind
of obsession to make this hand visible, to
share this with people; and in sharing this
with others who may feel this way, to use it
to embrace my art rather than turn to other
self-destructive ways such as drugs or other
addictions. Sensuism to me is, in a sense,
a form of communicating like a poem, just
without words. A combination of the sens-
es, uniting hearing and sight to create a
physical “sense-ual” perception.
Where do you draw inspiration for the
right musical accompaniment to match
your mood when creating?
This is the fun part. Sometimes I choose a
decade; the 60’s is a fun one. I feel like
I was born in the wrong decade. I would
have loved to live in this time. A time of
struggle, awakening, of color and curiosity.
I happen to be listening to “Time of the
Season” by the Zombies right now. Music
can almost be a way of time travel. To
pair what I am hearing, seeing bold, visual
colors as I listen – it’s important to find the
“match” of music…lest I lose the feeling or
inspiration. I really love to go into a medita-
tive state, a place of fantasy, a free space
of pure creation.
What advice do you have for other artists
who might be grappling with their own
personal or physical hurdles?
I think that the most important thing I learned
with my personal struggles or handicaps
(mine were mostly mental and spiritual)
was to find what makes you “you.” In other
words, what others may say are faults, may
just be merely differences. Do not be ham-
pered; embrace what makes you different.
Find those that support you and, like the
struggling artists who have come before us,
find your inspiration to keep going. Don’t
judge yourself by other’s accomplishments
or compare yourself to others as we all
have different paths and there is an inherent
beauty in that.
Do you have a favorite among your art?
My favorite creation and one I refuse to sell
is called “Blue Girl.” She was a girl, beat-
en down by love and failed relationships,
the hardships of life. This piece pretty much
started my pastel series “Crying Girl.” There
are music notes around, a nod to my love
of music and a recent breakup with a musi-
cian I was dating at the time. I created a
small creature on her neck, perhaps a cat?
A fox? A protective little creature looking
up at the girl to give the sad piece balance
and hope, something that would be a recur-
ring feature in my later works.
How would you describe yourself in
five words or less – and what do you
hope future artists take away from
A self-described “introverted extrovert
nomadic nerd,” I hope that anyone strug-
gling to find their inner artist remembers
that sometimes we all need to take a
risk. We live in a very conformist society.
Acceptance isn’t everything. Sometimes
what sets us apart can inspire us when we
By Beth Levine | Photography by Jeremy Pierson
L O C A L | 5 . 2018
5 . 2018 | L O C A L