Artist Anna Mond’s universe is filled with otherworldly creatures smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. Fantastical Beings is her series of paintings depicting strange, alien-like figures gazing out of the canvas with unsettlingly captivating eyes. After years of working on musical projects, Anna’s creations came about organically when she “rediscovered the magic of painting. Within a short period of time, these wonderful creatures started to materialise,” she tells It’s Nice That.
The paintings tease the viewer as Anna masterfully pushes the boundaries of our imagination and incites our curiosity through these strange characters. One being is dressed like a priest with a black cross on its chest and a cigarette poking out of its mouth, while another is ready to take off on the next space mission in its astronaut gear. In Anna’s world, smoking cigarettes inside space helmets is commonplace. “When I sell my paintings they often travel to many different countries. But the Fantastical Beings are always connected and communicate with each other in mysterious ways,” Anna explains. Riddles are at the heart of Anna’s work and her strength lies in withholding easy explanations. Who are these creatures? Are they friendly or hostile? Happy or sad? Or perhaps we should consider how these anthropomorphic characters relate to ourselves. Like us, they wear Breton stripes, cowboy hats and speak on the phone, but their expressions are alien. Anna’s paintings invite us to imagine what might lie behind the faces we encounter.
Despite the series’ cohesion, Anna’s creative process is neither forced nor contrived. “Most of the time, I can feel something about to begin and I start to paint. Colour combinations come together, facial expressions evolve, poses take shape. It’s time for one more Fantastical Being to come into existence,” Anna reveals. The supernatural world has made contact and Anna is its vehicle. “They simply communicate with me about how they feel and what shape they want to be,” she says. After priming the paper with the background colour, Anna sets to work building her mesmerising universe.