Ana Fernandez

Our Art Criticism Interview: Ana Fernandez

Posted on November 05, 2016

Interview: Ana Fernandez
by Darrell Roberts
June 22, 2011

Can you tell us about your education background, where you lived and went to art school?

I received my BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and my MFA from the University of California at Los Angeles. Prior to that I’d taken lots of drawing and sculpture classes at San Antonio Community College, where I now teach.

What did you get most out of your education and how were the two schools rewarding and different?

As an undergraduate at SAIC, I learned how to paint. The first oil painting I did was a still life: Diet Coke and a plate of white rice (with eggroll) from Sonny’s Cafeteria. It was terrible. During my senior year, I chose to take advanced figure studio classes, rather than independent study, because I wanted to work directly with Susanna Coffey and Dan Gustin. I learned so much from them.

Whereas, in comparison, UCLA was like a paint bomb in a bag of stolen money that went off in my face.

Who did you work with at UCLA?

Most influential to me were my primary advisors, Nancy Rubins and Lari Pittman. I worked with others as well. UCLA was difficult. I stopped painting during the second year and started making large-scale collages in preparation for my thesis show. Although I had gotten mixed reviews from faculty, the show sold-out. Very shortly thereafter the legendary Patricia Faure gave me my very first show at her gallery in Santa Monica.

Can you describe your studio practice?

”Studio practice”. That sounds so tedious. My schedule allows me time to paint every day, but I don’t. I spend a lot of time doing other things that support the work. I get my best ideas while driving around, for example.

What are your favorite painting tools and techniques?

Oil paint is my favorite. But, gouache (opaque watercolor) is a very close second. I love the matte finish that a gouache painting has. I like to describe it as ”liquid pastel” because that’s what it feels like to me. I love it because its difficult.

When is your next exhibition?

I have several projects scheduled for 2012, including a solo exhibition at Joan Grona Contemporary Art and an exhibit at The Institute of Texan Cultures, both in San Antonio, TX.

The Bewitching Art of Ana Fernandez

Posted on November 05, 2016

by Gilberto Zamora

June 4, 2010

In viewing Ana Fernandez‘s paintings, there is an invitation to wonderment, darkness and a bit of humor. Her new series, “Texas,” combine familiar domestic elements with subtle, sometimes eerie, hints of the unknown. We couldn’t wait to ask her a few questions. She was born in Corpus Christi, Texas. She holds an MFA in Painting from University of California at Los Angeles, and a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She exhibits nationally and has solo exhibitions this spring in Los Angeles, this summer in Chicago and at Joan Grona Gallery in San Antonio in 2011.

Check out our interview with this fascinating artist, below.

Ana Fernandez's 11:50

Prove & Confusion: The invitation I received to your show described your work as magic realism. How do you feel about the label magic realism?

Ana Fernandez: I would describe my art as naturalistic and realistic with elements of the fantastic…supernatural. I remember seeing the dioramas at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science when I was a child. The museum was kept cold and really dark. The 15-foot mythical sea monster mural was terrifying. The sea loomed over us like a frozen tidal wave, and the monster was so creepy! It was better than any painting that I’d ever seen in the art museum, at that age. It really had an effect on me.

Prove&Confusion: In reading your bio, I see that you’ve lived in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Antonio, Texas. The series you’re showing at 2nd FLR Gallery is called Texas, so have the major Cities you’ve lived in influenced your work?


Ana Fernandez: Los Angeles and Chicago are both amazing and inspirational places to live, but San Antonio is my home and is the stimulus for this body of work. The content of my series as a whole contains some of my favorite subjects: magic, true crime, paranormal activity, sex, murder, occult, mythology, witchcraft and superstition all set in the neighborhoods of my hometown. And, here in San Antonio, we believe in that stuff. This city is haunted and its inhabitants are superstitious. (And we are very festive, too.) It’s a wonderful place! My painting called “210″ is a vanitas themed painting, for example.

Prove&Confusion: Your series “Supersonic” back 2004 was a lot more collage and abstract than your current “Texas” series, has your approach and style changed or do you alternate between them?


Ana Fernandez: When I began at UCLA I completely shifted gears and started doing something completely different. Before, I was making paintings very similar to what I do now. The Supersonic show you referenced was an exhibition in 2004 featuring MFA candidates from eight of Southern California’s art programs. At UCLA, It was as if I just threw everything in my studio- magazines, old paintings, drawings- into a heavy duty wood chipper and spat out large scale collages. I did that for three years. My dog used to eat bits of the collage material when I wasn’t looking. I used to find little compositions in his poo. I should have photographed some of them.

Prove & Confusion: As an artist were there any particular Latina women that influenced you?

Ana Fernandez: One of my favorite artists is Remedios Vara, a surrealist painter who was born in Spain in 1908, but lived in Mexico most of her life. Her work had aspects of mysticism, geometry and and alchemy in it that I feel relate to my work. My all time favorite painter would be Francesco Goya in terms of style and content, particularly the Black Paintings and his depictions of witchcraft.


Come see Ana Fernandez’s work at 2ND Floor Gallery

903 W. 19th St. Chicago, IL 60608 on Saturday June 5, 2010. 6PM. You can also read more about her in her interview with Gozamos!

Who's Got Next: The Work of Ana Fernandez

Posted on November 05, 2016

By N. Reyna Amaya

June 3, 2010

Exhibition Detail:
Ana Fernandez
Curated by: Arno Mayorga
2ND FLR Gallery

903 W 19th Street 2nd Flr
Chicago, IL 60608
June 5th – June 26th

Ana Fernandez is a visual artist whose most recent series, Texas, will be shown at Pilsen’s 2ND FLR Gallery beginning June 5th from 6-9pm. Her work has been exhibited in cities throughout the United States, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, San Antonio and Chicago. Fernandez holds an MFA from UCLA and a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I had the pleasure of chatting with Ana prior to the opening of her Texas series exhibition in Chicago.

So, where are you from? Where do you live now?
I was born in Corpus Christi, Texas. My family moved to San Antonio when I was sixteen. I then lived in Chicago for three years, Los Angeles for ten years, and now reside in San Antonio.

How did you like Chicago when you lived here?
I absolutely love Chicago. It’s one of my favorite places. Chicago feels very much like home, very friendly and cozy. Coming from Texas, I also noticed that Chicago has a very large Latino community and the city is not at all pretentious.

When did you decide you wanted to be an artist?
My mom is an artist and we were exposed to art at a very early age. I remember using oil paint for the first time around age ten. I entered different contests. I was always doing something creative as a child. I used to take toys belonging to the neighborhood kids and bury them in our backyard. I would present them with an elaborate hand-drawn map by which the toys could be found. I think they had more fun finding the toy than actually playing with it… But, I never really made a conscious decision to be an artist, because I believe that you either are an artist or you aren’t. They can’t teach you that in school. I did make a conscious decision, however, to study art formally–which was a natural progression for me. At one point, when I was in college, I thought, well, maybe I should study something else so I could actually get a job. Like law or something. But, I soon realized that I need to do what I love to do. There was not another option.

How would you describe your art?
I would describe my art as naturalistic and realistic with elements of the fantastic. Supernatural. The content of my series as a whole contains some of my favorite subjects: magic, true crime, paranormal activity, sex, murder, occult, mythology, witchcraft and superstition all set in my hometown, San Antonio. My painting called 210 is a vanitas themed painting, for example.

In terms of your content, from where do you draw your interest in these subjects–magic, true crime, paranormal activity…?
Do I sound like a psycho? [Reyna, laughing: "No, you do not sound like a psycho."] The subject matter of my work is taken from observations of my world, personal experiences and my own personal studies in those subjects. As a painter, I never consciously thought “I’m going to mix all these subjects together” rather they just seeped out from my subconscious. Eventually, whatever you put in your head will surface in one way or another.

I recently read that your work contains elements of “Chicano mythology and ritual.” Can you elaborate on that?
We are very festive here in San Antonio. People leave Christmas decorations out all year long. There are altars and religious statues in yards, sports memorabilia, you name it. People stick styrofoam cups in their chain link fences and spell out words, like “mom.” [Reyna: "That's awesome."] That’s just how its done here. I have painted a similar scene in one of my pieces. I’m just capturing where I am from and what is around me.

What advice would you give to a young person who is contemplating a career as a visual artist?
I would encourage them to find good teachers and learn all you can about art history and contemporary art. Find out as much as you can about the business end of the art world. That’s something else they don’t teach you in school. Also, watch Paul McCarthy’s video “Painter.” He’s referencing someone who wants to be a painter in the piece. Really, he’s referencing the archetype of the heroic male painter–but also the business aspect of painting. It’s a very funny performance. It’s actually more of an anti-painter video in that it sums up a lot of contemporary attitudes some students have about painting like: “I’m going to make lots of paintings and people will buy them and I’m going to be famous.” What the video works to create is an awareness. It makes us question some of those commonly held attitudes about art and should make students think: “Why do you want to touch on something? Why do you need to make something? Why do you need to make an object?”

Ana Fernandez’ most recent series, Texas, will be exhibited at 2ND FLR Gallery June 5th from 6-9pm. In conjunction with the Texas series opening, 2ND FLR Gallery will host the United Latino Pride Week Launch Party June 5th from 9pm-12am. To learn more about Ana Fernandez’ work and upcoming shows, visit her web page.

Categories: exhibit, chicago, reyna pena, 2010, art