Anna Nazzari is a Perth based artist. Her practice focuses on the investigation of mythological tales, superstitions and unusual events that emphasise moral certainty and foster a reading of the absurd. Her work is often painstakingly made and combines old world skills with contemporary art processes to aesthetically convey the contradictory or futile facets of life. In 2011, she completed a Doctorate of Philosophy (Art), which analysed the absurd fate of gender ambiguous narratives. Her art practice primarily accommodates 3-dimensional form but can also incorporate video, drawing and photography. Nazzari currently works as a Lecturer at Curtin University’s School of Design in Perth, Western Australia.
Q & A
Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?
I relate to Charlie Graham in Hereditary. Even though Charlie has been possessed at birth by Paimon, so it is not really her, there is something about the essence of the character being portrayed that I connect with. She is odd in an authentic way. Her art, which has outsider overtones, is kooky and disturbing and something I aspire to in my own creative endeavours.
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
: I am always drawn to narratives that contain animals, so a lot of the time, my ideas are “bad” because they are impractical. For instance, I had an idea about making a film about a chicken that hypnotized its owner into slaughtering workers at a Fast-Food outlet. For me, the immediate hurdle is how might I flesh the idea out, so it goes beyond the pun phase, make it DIY (cause I’m a struggling artist) or turn it into a believable narrative. In reality though, I am not sure there are bad ideas, for me it is more about the ideas that you can’t shake quickly. I often write lots of notes about ideas for films in my phone. Sometime this is just a sentence or two, a paragraph or a more sketched out plan. If I come back to it or I am thinking about it endlessly, I know it deserves more attention. I am of the view that yep, you can polish a turd.
When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
Books, art, scripts, science journals, films and the news (the wackiest inspiration often comes from news and current affair stories). Also sometimes childhood memories and dreams.
What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
we would try to rewrite the end fast – they don’t usually end well for the characters!
Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
Freddy Kreuger and John Kramer.
Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Freddy, Stephen King, Practical, Post Apocalypse
How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
We often make creatures out of clay and then cast them in silicon. In past works, we have drawn inspiration from the ocean, mythical creatures, folk narratives and monsters. We like to inject a sense of realism into the creation of our pieces but also look for ways to include our own imaginings and designs. Often this can result in exaggerating or distorting “real” features, mixing up species (hybridising flora/fauna) and pushing colour and form beyond the known.
What scares you, and does it inspire your storytelling?
: I love horror films but there is nothing scarier than true crime stories. I think true crime stories inspire me but not necessarily in a linear or logical way. In other words, I like taking an obscure fact from this space and distorting or spinning it into something even more absurd. Erin: Reading about ecological destruction and species extinction scares the hell out of me. Though it is oblique, there is often a strong eco-horror thread my work, so I guess it filters through.
And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
When I was kid, the first movie I watched that scared the crap out of me was A Nightmare on Elm Street. I lived in a small country town and was pretty naïve to the realities of the world, so this film was mind-blowing.