Artist spotlight: Anna McKeown
We chat to the artist behind some of Instagram’s most colourful artworks…
Dubai-based Irish artist, Anna McKeown is better known by her pseudonym, Pop and Toast. You might recognise her pretty colour-splattered Champagne bottles, which have likely been popping up on your Instagram feed.
From what started out as a hobby, now earns McKeown a living, as the former art teacher receives commissions from private collectors, and even restaurants who adore her work.
“I have always had a passion for art from an early age, and I only ever saw myself working in a creative career – such as interior design, teaching, curation, consultancy or an artist,” McKeown tells us.
Before becoming a full-time artist, she studied fine art and art history and worked alongside pioneering artists around the world – many of whom have influenced her and paved her creative journey.
Her favourite art movement is abstract expressionism, which was developed in New York City in the 1950s. She gives credit to Jackson Pollock, a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement for her signature abstract painting style of splashes and neon undertones.
She added: “My style and art practice are heavily influenced by my appreciation of fashion, popular culture and interiors – and I am finally starting to be able to bridge these specialisms and work between all three areas”.
Her Champagne bottle pieces “have become very popular and are very much a key component of my brand. However, I love working on portraiture – especially the female figure, imagery from historical fashion shoots and magazines have been an influence of mine in the past,” she shares.
Speaking on her creative process, McKeown tells us: “The actual process of painting, my use of colour, the fluidity of the paint, the energy that I exert and the solitary nature of my practice, is the central driving force behind my work”.
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McKeown works with a range of mediums, but most importantly she loves to explore and experiment. Her main medium is oil paints, which will always remain a constant in her practice, and in a bid to diversify, she also released a collection of NFTs last year – all of which sold out in 24 hours.
Outside of her colourful art world, McKeown is a keen yoga and Pilates practitioner. She enjoys rising early when the world is asleep and soaking in the silence during her walks on the beach.
McKeown has a number of projects coming up this year, including exhibitions across the UAE and the UK. She states that her main goal is to showcase her work in more galleries across Dubai, Europe and the UK.
Besides creating works of art for private commissions, she will also be working with several prestigious food and beverage companies and creating artwork for several new projects. She’s very much looking forward to it, and so are we.
Words: Elise Kerr and Aarti Saundalkar
Images: Anna McKeown