Anna Deller Yee

-1994, Chicago, IL, USA

TUA: Where and how did you grow up; did this affect your ability to connect to and enter the art world?

Anna: I moved a few times during my childhood, yet I mostly grew up in Coburg, Germany. Living in a rural area made it more difficult to access museums and world-class art, but I was fortunate to have an amazing art teacher throughout middle and high-school who I connected with really well and was able to learn from a lot.

Her name is Isolde Russ; she is also an artist and without her, I’d probably never have come this far with painting/drawing.

TUA: Did you do art school; which direction? Did you do another education before you started art school?

Anna: I attended middle/High-school(Gymnasium) in Coburg from 2004-2012.

From 2014 to 2018 I went to London College of Fashion for my Bachelor in Fashion Design and Development, and from 2019-2021 I am doing my masters in Fashion Design at the Royal College of Art in London.

I don’t have a background in classical painting or anything similar; it’s just something I’ve really grown to love during my education with Isolde Russ.

TUA: What would you tell your younger self before entering art school?

Anna: I would have told my younger self that as cliche as it might sound; to never be afraid of being yourself and speaking your mind through your art.

Authenticity is so rare yet a really valuable asset.

TUA: How old were you when you started higher education? -Where and what did you learn? -Does this education relate to your artistic practise; how?

Anna: I was 19 years old. I went to LCF in London for my BA in Fashion Design and Development. There I learned how to design with a specific market/ consumer in mind. It was a very; industry, business and customer-focused course. I think it prepared me well for an actual design job in fashion, even though I definitely had to tone it down with my artistic approach to design (because nobody would wear/buy what I wanted to design). It was a super valuable time and I learned a lot.

At the Royal College of Art, I now feel like I can really do whatever I want; as long as I can back it up with enough personal conviction and dedication.

Now my practice definitely relates more to my paintings.

TUA: Did you ever experience classism, racism, sexism, sexual harassment, physical or psychological abuse within the art world? -Do you want to describe the situation?

Anna: I once had an encounter with a cis-white man;

He did not acknowledge my presence let alone speak to me until he realized that the two nude portraits I’ve painted were of myself. I suddenly became very interesting. It was the unwanted energy that was unnerving for me and that I really disliked.

Thankfully to this date, this has been one of just a few weird encounters I’ve had.

I’ve dealt with sexism, racism and sexual harassment too, but not in the context of the art world.

But the stories I have heard especially from womxn, femme people, and POC is very disheartening.

Something needs to change, I hope that I will be able to use my work to combat exactly these pressing issues we have in the art world.

TUA: Do you think it is an artists responsibility to write about their work; why? -Do you think anyone, especially curators and art critiques should write about Artists or their work; why?

Anna: I think it’s important to write about your work.

You don’t have to reveal everything but I believe anyone who creates in this modern age needs to justify why they are creating more „stuff“ and with what purpose in mind.

Maybe that’s my more fashion industry-based approach coming through.

It doesn’t need to be writing; it could also be audio or film.

There are other ways of communicating a message than written words.

I guess the important thing is to find the right balance between revealing too much of your concept and leaving moments for the viewer to interpret by themselves.

I like the idea of finding the “golden ratio” between work and words.

I think it’s also important for others to write and express their thoughts about artists' work.

Freedom of speech is a valuable asset of democracy and as long as people are still debating or discussing matters based on the same facts I think it’s valid.

Art should make you feel something, that can always be different depending on the viewers' life experiences, therefore their interpretation and so on (even with a written statement).

So an outsiders perspective might not always be positive, nice or even tasteful but I guess that’s what artist need to deal with too. You put a part of yourself out there, not everyone is going to like it. But it is important to keep in mind that artists are also not there to please everyone.

TUA: Where would you ideally see your artwork exposed?

Is being an artist a full-time profession for you?

At this point, could you live of off only your art; do you think you ever will?

Anna: One day I’d love to exhibit in large galleries all across the world.

A dream for me would be The Boros Collection in Berlin. Or the White Cube or Tate in London. I don’t work as a full-time artist (also a dream), as I am still in my studies at RCA. Once I am finished next year I will figure out what to do professionally.

I’d love to become a full-time artist, but I see the great chance of very little to no income and therefore an unstable lifestyle. I guess I also do see the additional obstacle of being Womxn in the art world- At the same time, I also love the idea of challenging the status quo and social norms.

If you don’t try you will never know.

But I still have time until about next year in March when I should start to look for jobs and make up my mind; so until then, this battle in my head will hopefully continue. If not, I’ll definitely continue painting on the side. I am planning on moving to Berlin. I will look for an atelier room there too.

Find Anna on Instagram and her Website:

IG: @annadelleryee