Arts / Culture

In plain sight: a conversation in Paris with multi-disciplinary artist Anastazia Bobis

In plain sight: a conversation in Paris with multi-disciplinary artist Anastazia Bobis

Growing up in Queensland, Poland and Saudi Arabia before settling in Sydney and then France, you get the sense that Anastazia Bobis has lived a life brimming with experience and wonder. Her curiosity for surveying the human experience comes across in the brushstrokes of her paintings and the moulding of her sculptures. Each piece captures a fleeting moment – a split second of eye contact on a morning walk; a windy and unsettled character reading the paper on an evening commute. Bobis’ voyeuristic eye drives her practice. She documents brief interactions via her phone before painting them from her Paris studio. Her sense of colour and penchant for documenting vulnerability in the most mundane of observations are what draw you in. It is a universal expression and disposition that you see on the character’s faces in her work.

We visited Bobis in Paris at her studio, a large industrial space cloaked in canvases, easels and boxes overflowing with well- loved art supplies. Here, she tells RUSSH about the intricacies of her practice, her most indulgent rituals, and where her most original ideas come from.


Your paintings capture light and expression so beautifully. There is the subtle pop of a camera flash painted into some. Do you document moments through photos to paint from?

Thank you! All my work comes from photographs I have taken. I love documenting. I have albums of photos for future work. Sometimes I feel called to paint a particular person or a moment straight away and sometimes I have nothing to paint because I need to be connected to the image. My work serves me as a personal diary entry.


How would you describe your practice?

My artistic journey is an odyssey into the depths of identity, memory and the complex ballet of solitude within the human spirit. As I navigate this terrain, I am irresistibly drawn to the kaleidoscope of realities that reside within each individual, intertwining to shape the very fabric of our existence. Through the lens of my craft, I embark on a quest to unveil the intricate tapestry of human experience, revealing the complexities that shape our perceptions of ourselves and the world.

My work often oscillates between two styles, reflecting the capricious nature of human emotion. At times, my work exudes a sense of harmony and cohesion, while at other times it embraces chaos with abandon, reflecting the tumultuous fluctuations of mood and temperament, usually my own.


How long have you painted for?

Since I was in high school, but I only started again seriously when I could find and afford a studio space, which only happened a year and a bit ago.


What are some rituals that you indulge in to foster your creativity?

Very long walks; nature and writing.


Tell me about the blockage you experienced with painting. It’s something that creative people struggle with from time to time, no matter their medium. How did you navigate this feeling?

It was so hard, because when I finally got a studio space I thought it would pour out of me, but it just didn’t. I felt so frustrated that I couldn’t express myself. It took me a while to learn how to navigate this, which for me was drawing. I learned that just showing up and getting some ideas down is enough – even if I felt like I didn’t get anywhere, it’s a part of my process.


The sculptural element to your practice emerged recently. Are these figures inspired by people you have met?

This started in the period where I couldn’t paint. I always loved working with clay and hadn’t done it for eight years. The sculptural series, unlike my paintings, do not come from photos. They are spontaneous and I imagine they are sculptures of people from my subconscious. At this time, I was going through a really hard chapter, so the faces are a bit tortured.


Where do you find yourself when the best ideas or inspirations come to you?

Everywhere. Mostly when I’m walking by the Seine. I start every morning there.


And who are some painters throughout history or today that you admire?

Too many to name. I love Magritte, Bacon, Georgia O’Keeffe, Brett Whitley and Philip Guston. I love Philip Guston. l’m currently admiring Issy Wood.



The artists that neighbour your studio space in Paris range in age – some younger artists, many older. Have you taken away any valuable insights from working around artists who have the wisdom of time?

Not really from the people in my studio. But from my older artist friends yes. It’s to stay true to yourself and keep going.


If you had to paint a portrait of any person, who be your pick?

That’s hard... Vivienne Westwood? I love everything about her as an artist. To have spent a moment with her would be so cool. She would make for an incredible portrait.


How do you think your practice has changed since living in Paris?

It’s changed a lot. I’ve found my way of working and I’m always inspired by my surroundings. Never a dull moment in Paris.


To experience the Ideas issue in its entirety, the May edition of RUSSH is available on newsstands from 16 May and through our shop online. Read more about the inspiration behind the issue in Jess Blanch's editor's letter. Wanting to purchase the Ideas issue in person? Find a stockist near you.

Stay inspired, follow us.