People who make places: Anne Harild

Anne Harild photo

How do you describe what you do when someone in your family asks? 

When someone in my family asks, I say I’m an artist who makes work in response to place and who occasionally makes illustrations and often collaborates with other artists, musicians or young people and community groups. It’s sometimes hard to explain because I do lots of different projects all the time, sometimes exhibitions or public artwork and sometimes images for a magazine or a book.

What is the most interesting project you’ve worked on?

The most interesting project I have worked on recently was an artist residency at a big gallery in Liverpool called The Bluecoat. I lived and worked in Liverpool and created a big sculpture outside, in response to the architecture and nature of the building. As part of the process I also collaborated with young people in order to explore the place but also with a team of designer/makers who helped me build the sculpture.

What aspect of your work gives you the best feeling?

Making it. I enjoy the making process a lot. I also enjoy working with other people but I always incorporate a lot of actual making, like building and drawing together.

What keeps you awake at night? 

I’m self-employed so sometimes I worry about not having enough work and being able to pay all my bills. Other times I worry whether I have time to do all the projects I have happening at that time. It changes all the time and can sometimes be quite stressful but it also gives me a lot of freedom and the opportunity to work in lots of different places with different people all the time.

What does your work now have to do with what you studied, if at all? 

I studied Communication Art and Design at the Royal College of Art. The course was a great mixture of artists and designers. I work in that field in between art and design often. I work on lots of commissions like a designer would do but I also participate in lots of exhibitions. In my work I still explore similar ideas related to architecture and place, as I did at college, so it’s not that different now really.

What advice would you give to a young person interested in a career like yours? 


It’s a good idea to research all the different courses and universities out there and find one that suits your area of interest and personality. It’s often helpful to do work experience with an artist or designer in order to try things out and get an idea about the subject you are interested in. I did an Art and Design foundation course at Camberwell College of Arts in London and that was a brilliant way to try out lots of different areas of art and design and helped me work out what I was really interested in.

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Children at Chesterton Primary working with Anne Harild on an Exploring Nine Elms project
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