By: Judy Nyquist and Laura Worth
Since coming to Texas from Israel in 2006, Anat Ronen and her husband have considered Houston a land of opportunity. A fresh start, and for her as a self-trained artist – that opportunity came in the form of public art commissions that spawned a vibrant career. Taking inspiration from her love of animals, and her desire to communicate timely topics, world news, and social matters to a wide audience, Anat has developed notoriety for her dynamic and captivating street art and murals that can be experienced by the all.
“It is in the street, that I feel the best. The vast canvas that the street offers, the instant exposure, the affordability, the unfiltered public outlet – all these fits me like a glove. In the street, all humans are seemingly equal; there are no pretenses or societal snobbery. In the street, it’s just you, the structure and the passersby.”
How does one go about creating these massive murals and street installations, you may ask?
Anat creates these murals mostly on her own (with some technical help from her husband). First comes a commission, then a design takes shape. The process includes careful sketching, putting focus to the desired subject. She prides herself on the ability to work quickly and on a large scale, with projects ranging from a few feet wide to over thirty feet tall! A natural multi-tasker, Anat often works on many projects at once and has traveled extensively for art fairs and far flung commissions.
Versatility is her strong suit; commenting: “Everything inspires me.”
Anat works with a wide variety of materials, including acrylics, latex, tempera, chalk, pen, marker, color pencils, digital, and more.
Here we have linked to a map where you can see Anat Ronen’s works around Houston!
Have you seen some of her works around town?
More with Anat:
What are some things about Houston that have inspired you, and helped develop you as an artist?
When moving from Israel, it was Houston’s diversity, affordability and down to earth appeal made us feel at home, and with that sense of belonging great things happen. Although we were immigrants, we were never made to feel unwelcome or rejected. I definitely feel that the vibrant, ever changing, unapologetically diverse city that is Houston has contributed to who I am as an artist and I am glad our fates have been tied together.
How does your voice as a woman influence your projects, informing which ones you choose to do, or the subject matter or otherwise?
I feel that everything that I do stems from who I am, and being a woman is a large part of it. I think it’s fair to say we all deal with the cards we’ve been dealt, and one of them is gender.
I think we’re in a time where women’s voices are more prominent and accepted. Maybe it’s my Jewish heritage speaking, maybe my immigrant roots, but I am always aware of the fact that people do not always see things the way I do. Stemming from that place, I adapt, and take to heart various viewpoints. My status as a middle-aged, immigrant woman has its benefits and drawbacks. However, my accomplishments speak to the fact that I can accomplish anything that a man can and I am proud of that!
What are some of your dream projects or goals as an artist?
It’s funny you ask, because this life of being an artist came as a result of our dream to live in the USA. At first providing for my family was my priority. A decade of very hard work and investment to get our green cards has now allowed me the liberty of dreaming, something I never dared to do before.
I am forever grateful for that privilege to be here; it has changed our lives. My husband, Ori, and I wish to open a coffee shop combined studio/gallery, probably called ‘Sweetie’. My dream is to have enough to be able to see my family, to help my son, to live comfortably, and to be happy. As an artist, I let life take me where it leads. Having started from nowhere at all with no aspirations. I just climb up the cliff hoping it never ends or that I’d never fall from it.
What is your process like, and how does the project get documented and interacted with?
I work by myself, with some technical help from my husband. The ultimate design considers the size and shape of the wall, distance from viewers, texture, and of course things like cost, timing, expectations, and so on. I use a grid system to transfer my designs onto the surface, and often freehand. I like to listen to music, just not through headphones as I feel they disconnect me from the world, and often people want to interact with me, so I like to stay alert to the possibility of conversation. It is fun to see how people interact with works during the process and after completion. Once finished, I document carefully, paying attention to special features like scale, texture, and context, and that portfolio has helped me in getting new commissions as well. I am very thankful, it is all very heartwarming and humbling; I feel very blessed.
For more on Anat, and her artwork, please visit her website at www.anatronen.com