An interview with impasto painter Ann Marie Coolick

With a palette knife in hand, Ann Marie Coolick creates strikingly bold paintings with plenty of color and fluidity. The painting technique she employs, known as impasto, is all about slathering frosting-like paint layer upon layer onto the canvas resulting in a sculptural, three-dimensional appearance. 

Working from her studio in a renovated World War 2 era bungalow, Coolick creates colorful patterns, seascapes, and a series of impressionist florals inspired by her hometown.

From sharing her artistic journey to her inspiration Ann Marie tells us all…

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m an impasto painter from Arlington, Virginia. I have three young boys and my friends think it’s so ironic that in a house of all boys my artwork is so feminine and peaceful. 

2. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

When I was very young I pictured myself in a suit pointing at a line graph in a big important conference room, maybe somewhere in New York City.  I think it was just something I had seen in movies rather than what I actually wanted to be. It wasn’t until high school that I was introduced to art and creativity in a way that was truly inspirational. 

3. How do you describe your art?

Sculptural, frosting-like, and colorful

4. What are you working on now?

I’m working on large floral canvases with heavy layering and beautiful color gradients.

5. As you can tell we love your work. What inspires you?

I’m inspired by all things textural and colorful, from the fresh cherry blossoms in springtime in DC to a freshly iced cake. I’m also drawn to the colors, textures, and patterns found in fashion. 

6. What made you want to explore art-inspired fashion?

I love bold, colorful fashion and have always thought my Polka Daubs and florals would translate well to wearables and homewares.

7. Who are your biggest influences?

My work is influenced by artists who also focus on color and texture, specifically Joan Mitchell and Frank Auerbach. My Polka Daubs series is inspired by the infinite polka dots of Yayoi Kusama. 

8. Any other artists on Instagram that we should keep an eye out for?

@TomoKoizumi @Shoplifterart @IngridandChing @BrianGiniewski @AmandaEFaber

9. How do you know when a work is finished?

When I step back a few feet and it gives me a calm and happy feeling, I know it’s done. If I fight with a piece for long enough and can’t bring it to a point of resolution, I simply put it aside and give it time and space. 

10. What does your art aim to say?

Ultimately I want my art to bring joy to people. I want to form a connection with my audience and collectors through the peaceful imagery and satisfying textural work. 

11. Why partner with VIDA?  

It’s been really exciting to see how my work transfers so well into the realm of fashion. I especially love Vida’s clutches and glass platters. Taking something that is usually monochromatic and traditional and livening it up with artwork is really exciting. 

12. What about the VIDA story/philosophy resonated with you?

I love the global community that VIDA has created. They partner with creators from all around the world, but more importantly, they offer literacy and education programs in their factories to help improve the lives of their workers.

13. Any advice for other emerging artists?

My practice really took off when I began sharing much of my studio life including process videos and supplies on Instagram (@annmariecoolick).  My advice to emerging artists is to take advantage of the multitude of opportunities to share your work with the world. The more people who see your work and have opportunities to live with your work in some way, the better your chances of reaching a wider audience and maintaining growth in your business. One of my favorite quotes by Keith Haring, “If commercialization is putting my art on a shirt so that a kid who can’t afford a $30,000 painting can buy one, then I’m all for it.” 

Explore Ann Marie Coolick’s VIDA Collection

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