[M]odel, artist and muse Ann Kuen was seemingly destined for a creative career. Her father was a painting and sculpture restorer, meticulously repairing artworks throughout her childhood whilst Ann attended school for art and music. Then came an interest in fashion – a taste for off-beat, laidback style and a modelling career to go with it. Meanwhile, Ann has established herself as an artist also, creating large, pastel-coloured canvases that draw on dreams, observations and childhood for inspiration.
See her work here and get to know her creative process and see a shoot by New York photographer Eva Zar below.
Hi Ann, did your interest in art precede your interest in fashion or was it the other way around?
I grew up surrounded by art and went to school for art and music. At the same time I have always been interested in fashion since I was a teen I guess. So one could say that my interest in creative work like making art, playing instruments, dancing and acting preceded an interest in fashion as well.
How do you balance those two creative pursuits now? Do they support and influence each other?
To be honest balancing it is a major accomplishment. For modelling and working in the fashion business, everything has to happen so fast and spontaneously so you can’t really plan on whats gonna happen next like where will I have to go and for how long. For my creative work in the studio, I need to be quiet and concentrate and I need time to focus, so this can be a bit of a trap for me sometimes. I still bring my sketchbooks and notebooks etc while traveling, it’s very important for me – that I have a space to close the door behind me and do my work wherever I go.
What are the major influences on your artwork? What’s your state of mind in the studio?
This is always a tough question, as there are so many influences on what comes out in the end as a result of a creative process. For me I have to say it’s how I grew up – my dad is a restorer for paintings and sculptures – but also many thoughts are inspired by what I see and observe in the world or in my dreams. When I am working in the studio there isn’t only one state of mind. For many years I’ve kept a studio diary, before I start working I always write, so my mind is free. Besides that there are many emotions coming and going, like waves, like being the ocean…
Which artists, photographers or creatives have had the strongest impact on your career?
Being a muse to a painter and being painted has been a very intense experience for me. Also working with Topolino and many other wonderful creatives, most of them became my close friends and thats what I am most thankful about.
How do you define the role of a muse in 2017?
The kiss of a muse – this is what we mostly think of, it is a very passive image of what a muse is or can be. I believe it is much more, there is a very active part to it. A muse is someone who has a major impact on the result of a creative process or an image created. It is energy which is transported through many layers of thinking and creating. A muse is someone who touches the soul in any way.
How would you describe your personal style? Who are your style icons?
I guess my style is very simple and easy with small eye-catching accessories, but always super comfy .Still my favourite ‘outfit’ is just wearing my studio clothes or pyjamas! I don’t really have style icons, I definitely find some people very inspiring but there is not that one ‘icon’.
What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
Well ….. spend time with my ❤️ and be alive and healthy and maybe also become a millionaire so I can just paint and do what I want.