Heart of an Artist:
The Art of Anne Legge
by Lesley Aine McKeown
When you look at an artist's work, the interesting result is often a dialogue, sparking questions about what the image or shapes mean. What was the artist thinking?
The journey through a piece provides a glimpse of who the artist might be and creates a story about what the work means, ultimately transforming how we see the world and how we interact with it. This is a powerful thing, often subtle; it can move us and touch us in ways we don't always realize immediately.
This was not the case when I first saw Anne Legge’s work. I literally stopped in my tracks. My first impression was her unique use of materials and media. The body of work on exhibit encompassed landscapes and vignettes on wood panels painted with wood stains. The result is a gentle impression of the captured landscape that still evokes the majesty and strength of the high desert. Anne’s use of boxes as frames for these pieces creates a platform for the placement of an object, often a miniature. For me the impression was truly transformative, and inspired me. I was determined to find the right Anne Legge for my collection!
So it was exciting to speak with Anne about her life, inspiration and vision. Anne grew up in a family of many artists in Baltimore, Maryland, so there's really no wonder she's followed a path of artistic expression. A high-school year in New Orleans sparked some textured interests and led her to enroll at Pacific University in Oregon. It was there she began exploring a wide variety of media, never really settling on one for long, each holding her attention and desire to delve deeper.
"After graduation I moved back to New Orleans to continue my exploration. However, feeling the pull to start looking for a career in the arts, I chose to move to Los Angeles to join my brother in the animation business." After working in two other studios she landed a job on The Simpsons as an animation colorist, and that's now been a 21-year full-time career. She credits her work in animation for the development of the sense of color and whimsy so prevalent in her own pieces.
Looking to the Southwest in hopes of focusing on her artwork led Anne to Prescott, where she married and raised a family. A pivotal experience was receiving an honored place in the Artist Residency for the Grand Canyon North Rim program in 2005. It allowed Anne to immerse herself in her artwork while living in the park. Residencies are an extraordinary opportunity that allow an artist the time to focus and contemplate their work without the distractions of everyday life. Anne used that time to full advantage, producing the body of work that so moved me on viewing it for the first time here in Prescott.
As with so many highly talented people, Anne is constantly exploring new ways to express herself. Still using her signature media of wood and stains, her current work incorporates recycled objects like cigar boxes, cameras, license plates and even musical instruments. Prescott offers a plethora of antique stores and secondhand shops to spark her creativity. Often playful and always engaging, this new work has opened an endless avenue of expression for Anne. Each piece begins with a story in her head about who used the object: Who were they? What was their story?
The fun part is imagining what that story might have been! The richness of her imagination is beautifully translated in the work and, as well conceived and executed art should be, continues the conversation with the viewer. You simply can’t help but be drawn in!
Anne says the best affirmation of her work is when a viewer says, “Wow this is unique, I haven’t seen anything like this!” “It’s a confirmation that they see who I am, it's a very original feeling that I'm expressing, and they see that!” she says.
As we wrapped up our conversation we commiserated on the feeling most artists have around the drive to create the excitement, and even a little fear that we’ll run out of time to express everything we feel. I have no doubt that Anne Legge’s energetic creativity and unfathomable imagination will bring the gift of art to the world for years to come. Anne Legge is currently represented by Arts Prescott Cooperative Gallery and The Adelante Gallery in Carefree. You can visit her new website at https://recyclegallery.com/.
Lesley Aine McKeown is a professional jewelry artist in Prescott.
Anne at the Emmys premiere party with daughter Eliza