Art News

Speak Out: Anna Hymas

“It can be hard to focus solely on your work without feeling guilty or selfish.”

– Anna Hymas

On the occasion of Women’s History Month, Saatchi Art’s curators spoke with artists about their process, inspiration, and the ways in which their identity as a woman is relevant to their art.

Anna Hymas is a graduate of Central St. Martins College of Art and Design, London. Her works have been exhibited in New York, Glasgow, Paris and London, including at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition. She has designed bespoke rugs for Loomah, and was commissioned by London Underground to create posters that are displayed across the tube.

What does it mean to you to be a woman in art?

It’s the last day of the Christmas holidays, kids go back to school tomorrow and I’m finding it hard to think! However, tomorrow I will throw myself back into painting. It can be hard juggling everything but I feel happy that I can do what I love.

Which female artist inspires you most—past or present— and why?

I confess that, when asked this question, I realise that so many of the artists I admire are men and that throughout history women artists have been forgotten and sidelined. But two artists I do find inspiring are Louise Bourgeois for her prolific work in so many different mediums, and Vanessa Bell, for the beautiful interiors, colours and patterns of Charleston Farmhouse.

What is your advice to a young woman who aspires to be an artist?

I do think women artists often lack confidence compared to men. Also, even though times are changing, we are still expected to take the main role in the family and it can be hard to focus solely on your work without feeling guilty or selfish. So be confident ladies!

What are the themes you pursue in your work?

I paint from my memory and imagination, whether it’s a landscape, a vase, a bowl or a garden I have seen. It can show up in one of my paintings weeks, months or even years later.

Can you tell us about your process? Do you begin with a sketch, or do you just jump in? How long do you spend on one work? How do you know when it is finished?

I often have a idea, jump straight in and then change my mind and the painting can change completely. Knowing when something is finished is a challenge. It is very easy to go too far and then have to scrape back through the layers again.

If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you do?

I would find it hard as I have always had a strong need to paint, draw and to make things. But I do love cutting hair!

About the Author

Monty Preston is the Assistant Curator at Saatchi Art. Need help finding art? Contact her via our free Art Advisory service at