Meet Ana Pérez Grassano – Architect, Designer, Artist



Ana Perez Grasano was born in Rosario, Argentina. She moved to Paris more than twelve years ago. Ana’s artworks are an intense journey into the past.

Rooted in her Argentinian upbringing, there are deep secrets to be unravelled under the richness and colourful fierceness of the oil paint.

Between the canvas and the surface of Ana Perez Grassano’s paintings storms and tempests are anchored; frozen crashes and howls, dried tears and blood, asphyxiated cries and pains. The spatula cannot but crush the oil, abusing it as if pushing it away, ordering it into a systemic chromatic dance.

The time allowed for pigments to dry between each pictorial exit tells of past chapters and of the imposed violence of the present, whilst the artist compresses into a slow and thick abstract movement what can only be invisible and inaudible.


Interview by: Marianne Magnin

April 2016

Where did everything start in your career? 

From as early as 5 years old, I felt a close connection with drawing and sketching, always eager to take a pencil to escape from reality. At 8, I used to isolate myself to gaze at buildings, deciphering architectural languages and recreating it on paper. The father of Mariana – my best childhood friend, was a civil engineer: much intrigued by my drawing activities, he had asked me to reproduce the front of their home on real architectural paper… He stills owns this drawing.

What are your biggest challenge and your greatest achievement in life? 

My brutal honesty could be at the source of both: to unconditionally tell the truth can trigger some real discomfort in others and in myself but this is also my anchoring point. It forces me to systematically revisit my own actions and objectives, and to challenge society status quo and established beliefs. I can feel these fears inside me when breaking moulds out crossing the world to meet new people and cultures.

However self-awareness makes me stronger as a woman and explains for instance how I have so quickly gained international exposure as an artist.

My greatest achievements are the birth of my daughter Inès after many heart breaking attempts to have a child, and the choice I made as an artist to lead a professional life free of conventions. I am made of this duality, a tender maternal side infused with the spirit of an undefeatable fighter.

How was your experience waking up today, and what thoughts preoccupy you? 

It is the awareness of death. The fact that life can be taken overnight. It makes me react and want to follow my passion with intensity.

What is the first site / application / software that you open in the morning?

I first open my e-mail inbox and WhatsApp for personal messages. I then head to the news of the world: from Argentina, I read La Nación Clarin and local news from my hometown Rosario in La Capital, before reading French news in Le Figaro (I moved to Paris in 2002).

Who is your greatest source of creative inspiration on the web?

The life, the no-real one that the web insists to sell.

Actually I get bored very easy! Films are for me a continuous intriguing field of online research. I will read for hours about the life of the producer, the actors, the screenwriter, trying to extricate facts from fiction. I have been browsing online daily for the last two weeks the making of Carol, from Todd Haynes. I design and paint immersed in music, locked in my studio for endless hours trying to imagine this era. I search the Cannes film festival presentation, the interviews, the aesthetics of the 50s in cars, colours, frozen faces, urban lines…

What publications do you read often?

I like A&D, The Times, La Gazette Drouot, Science & Junior.

What tips would you give to someone thinking of working abroad?

Despite being a nomad with a high level of education, I must confess that it is really not easy at all to settle in another country. I recollect my first job in France at the age of 30: I was a trilingual architect and the only experience I could add to my CV was an unpaid internship. I then got promoted to a 400€ per month position, easily working 10-12 hours a day and sometimes the weekend. Working abroad is extremely difficult if you are not from that economical zone like I when I relocated from Argentina to France. You have to prove that you are not stealing the position of a local worker, you are made fun of your accent… There is very little sympathy.

What lies ahead in your career?

I really want to combine my experience as an architect designing houses, their interiors and bespoke furniture, i.e. the entire built environment (a Gesamtkunstwerk) with my passion for painting. I realise that I am uniquely placed to create a multi-dimensional space integrating 2D to 3D sensorial experiences. Though it does not come without resistance, as few people understand or accept that you can be both architecturally directed and also an artist.It is about developing a visual language for our habitat that is boundless between the function of spaces and objects and what for me is the ultimate human dimension: art.

This is exemplified by my concept of ‘art dans l’objet’ (art in the object), whereby furniture embeds elements of painting. Painting makes me feel free, energised and forward looking. This is what I want to share: wonderful colours expressing the complexity of life through the many layers of oil I apply over and over again, revisiting the past and elevating emotions to a level of pure light. Alike most films inspired by real stories and transformed through the prism of the lens.

The most fantastic part is when a collector takes one of my paintings home and later sends me a message saying how happy they feel with my artwork around. This keeps me going!

Who is the most annoying person in the world in your opinion?

Myself! I cannot stand the idea of living with someone settled in their habits, set in that kind of boring comfort.

What was the biggest difficulty you encountered when you moved away?

The fact that you are invisible. You don’t know local rules and customs, you don’t have a network of friends, your past is shared with no one. There are no street corners you are familiar with, those you associate to your grand mother when she used to bring you to the nursery.

On the other hand, I am in the constant need to be in motion. To feel I am alive. Moving is not a difficulty for me because I am intrinsically curious: I am always ready to devour new cultures! As an architect-urbanist by training, I have a pre-concept of the place. Think of the Paris of Haussmann… I try to put these academic references aside and to let myself get lost in the city.

What was your biggest motivation to have an experience abroad?

I couldn’t stand the system and the society in Rosario. I always felt I did not belong to that place. To escape that world was my motivation.

How do you best use your creativity in your day-to-day?

My creativity is not confined to the paintings, furniture and interiors I create! It stems from real people and real life, and it applies to my real life too… For instance, I re-arrange the decoration of my apartment every month, moving around the lighting, furniture and artworks. I find it really exciting to create new combinations in my wardrobe, playing with textures and colours. I have for instance just added a new pair of leather gloves, dyed in a vibrant blue: this is going to add a new edge to my collection…

Any tips or final comment?

I nourish my creativity from the unexpected. This week, I felt this surge to experiment directly with my body, somehow re-enacting the art performances of the 60s and 70s, for the sole canvas to be witness.

I poured some paint on my skin and literally rolled on the surface. From this process emanates this raw physicality, which may be parent to the act of eating with one’s fingers instead of cutlery. An explosion of senses, which too often we deny to ourselves.

I made six paintings this way. There are about the illusion of eternity. The imprint of my breasts witnesses the passage of time. One day they will fall, one day they might be removed due to cancer. As scary as this is, I want to embrace this possibility so as to overcome the fear of loss. This is my way of being self-aware.

I plan to donate these works to an auction in favour of the Ligue contre le Cancer and other worthwhile causes. I am convinced that art is generated by inappropriate gestures, which ultimately feed humanity.

An a Pe r e z Gr a s s a n o
[email protected]


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By The Bridge

The Bridge

A Global Network for UX, Digital, Creative and Tech Professionals. Companies find top talent, professionals discover the best jobs.
We have built The Bridge, now it is up to you to cross it and achieve your dreams. #WeBuildYouCross

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