Warm Waters: Jonathan Smith

May 24, 20

Jonathan Smith is one of ANFA’s newest artists for our current exhibition, WARM WATERS. He is an award winning film photographer originally from the UK and currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. We are more than thrilled to have him as a new addition to our roster.

How did you become ‘exposed’ to photography and what made you want to pursue it as a career?

I was lucky enough to have had an amazing high school art teacher who brought in his own darkroom equipment in and encouraged everyone in the art department to have a go at developing and printing. I was hooked immediately and spent far too much of my time in there when I should have been studying for other exams. I soon set up a dark room of my own in the basement which was leaky and definitely not up to code. One of the earliest photography books I remember seeing that blew my mind was William Klein’s, “New York 1954-55.”  It’s an early street photography book that breaks many rules with cropping, grainy printing, out of focus subjects, off kilter angles, crazy street characters—it really opened my eyes to photography as an art form, and also was one of the reasons that I dreamed of living in New York City. To be honest, I never really thought of photography as a career, which may sound strange. I just had a desire to throw myself into it and see where it would take me.

Yachts from Monte Solaro, Jonathan Smith, 49×57 in gallery

What is your biggest inspiration as an artist and what photographers are you most influenced by?

Many years ago, when I first came to NY, I was about to start school at the International Center of Photography (ICP). I was wandering around Soho with my camera and at that time I had a tiny portfolio of my work that I carried around with me. I spotted out the corner of my eye a slender bald guy taking pictures with a Leica camera. I instantly knew it was Joel Meyerowitz, a photographer who I admired and had read about in the UK. I couldn’t believe my luck. I was having one of those rare moments in life,  and I knew it meant something, so I followed him into Dean & DeLuca (a gourmet grocery) and plucked up the courage to go up to him and introduce myself and show him my portfolio. To this day I’m so glad that I did that. Long story short is that I ended up working for him and running his archive for almost 8 years. He had a profound impact on my early work and was incredibly enthusiastic about my projects. He allowed me to take time off to develop my work and ultimately to start my own studio practice. He was definitely the biggest inspiration to me in my formative years, and we continue to be in touch to this day. Other photographers who I would say had an impact on my work early on were landscape photographers such as Joel Sternfeld, Steven Shore, Richard Misrach as well as more classical black and white photographers such as Cartier Bresson and Walker Evans.

Stream #43, Jonathan Smith, available upon request

You shoot your images mostly in a 4×5″ large format camera. What is it about photographing in large format that you are connected to?

When I first started shooting with the 4×5” film camera I was really blown away by the quality of the large scale prints I was able create without losing any detail. Once I saw the nuance of color and clarity that’s possible with a large format camera, I was totally seduced. I really love that when you are using a camera like this, considering that it is quite heavy and unwieldy, you’re forced to slow down and take your time with each and every exposure. It makes you really look at the scene in-front of you and ask yourself what, why and how you are going to take that shot – as you only have one, or perhaps two to take. You don’t want to make mistakes. It makes you really disciplined and hyper-aware of what you are doing, It’s a heightened experience in that sense. Digital has improved in leaps and bounds over the last few years and I’ve finally invested in a 100-megapixel camera that I’m also using. To be honest, it is also mind blowing in detail, so for the moment I’m bouncing back between formats and enjoying that process. Regardless, I think the discipline that I learned from the 4×5 will always remain.

“By choosing to use a large format camera, which is a heavy and somewhat
unwieldy machine, I am able to observe the landscape at a much slower pace. In doing so, the moments when I choose to release the shutter have become ones where I find that all elements have synthesized into place in the frame. The photograph has thus become quite deliberate and thought out, allowing me to feel immersed within the scene around me rather than taking a snapshot from the sidelines.”
– Jonathan Smith, East/West series statement

Punta Faraglioni, Capri, Jonathan Smith, available upon request

Do you have a favorite photo you’ve ever shot? If so, what is it?

It’s so hard to pick a favorite. I used to be so much more precious about one single shot being my best. I remember about 20 years ago shooting a street scene in Italy where there were elements that lined up so perfectly; geometric patterns and shapes that echoed through the frame along with the serendipity of a moment that was gone in a flash, that I thought myself very clever and then wondered how I would ever beat it. I think one thing I’ve learned slowly over the years, though, is that there isn’t that single shot or single moment that is the pinnacle. Rather, it is about developing an eye over time, and finding new and surprising avenues of interest that perhaps wouldn’t have been sparked if you hadn’t first made the 1000 mistakes prior to arriving there. 

If you could go to dinner with one artist/photographer (alive or dead) who would it be? Where would you take them?

Well I could say Warhol. I’ve found him fascinating forever, but that would be too easy. There was a photographer in New York called Garry Winogrand who was long dead before I’d ever heard of him, but he was friends with my mentor Joel Meyerowitz in the early sixties. I heard so many stories about Garry that I felt like I’d known him myself. Garry was a chain-smoking New Yorker; born in the Bronx. He was a working-class guy who knew how to hustle and didn’t mince his words. He shot anything and everything that he came across, both for work and for pleasure (google him, his work is amazing). His photography was almost obsessive in nature and has amazing breadth. When he died, they found thousands upon thousands of undeveloped rolls of film in this archive because he could never catch up with developing it all. I think he was probably a bit of a mess on a day to day basis, but I’d have loved to have sat down with him and heard some of his stories.  I imagine it would have been in a diner either in midtown or the upper westside of Manhattan… and preferably with a 60’s or 70’s NYC backdrop.

Garry Winogrand | Fraenkel Gallery
photo by Garry Winogrand (courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery)

What are you currently listening to?

I’m editing away on new works from my last residency in Iceland and still have my Iceland road-trip playlist playing music of the time – Olafur Arnalds, an Icelandic musician, features heavily on it, I find it a joy to edit to.  Re:Member is a favorite album.

Olafur Arnalds - re:member - Amazon.com Music
Olafur Arnalds, Re:Member

Favorite cocktail?

Most things! But a spicy Margarita on a hot summer day would hit the mark. To be honest I’d love any cocktail right about now, shared with friends outdoors somewhere – I’m dreaming of when we can all do that again here in NYC.

Are there any books or podcasts that you highly recommend?

I planned to read a lot during lockdown, and even bought a new Kindle Paperwhite, but it hasn’t happened that way! I recently reread sections of “The Power of Now” which has been very helpful during these trying times, and finally read Anthony Bourdain’s “Kitchen Confidential” last summer, which is a wonderful read about the inner workings of the restaurant industry and Bourdain’s crazy life there. I really miss NY restaurants; I can’t wait to go and eat out again.

With our theme of WARM WATERS.. if you could be anywhere right now, what is your dream trip? 

Well, where to start, I was supposed to be in Australia and New Zealand through April, so I have been dreaming about that trip nonstop. I also had tentative plans to return to the Amalfi coast this summer to continue projects there. It really is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to, the light the water, the food… what can I say… 2021 will be catch-up time.

Fall #10, Jonathan Smith, available upon request

Jonathan’s work can be viewed here or by stopping in the gallery. Any of his work is available even if not in the gallery— contact us for more information.

Logan Sutton, Gallery Curator

Artist Spotlight: our very own, Anne Neilson

Apr 9, 20

If you haven’t already, meet Anne Neilson, owner of ANFA, artist, author, and philanthropist. She is dedicated to making ANFA a lighthouse in the community by giving back through art. She paints with both passion and purpose.

Where does the inspiration from your Angels come from?

“Over 19 years ago when I picked my brushes up and started painting in oils, I wanted to paint something that reflected my faith.  I experimented with all kinds of subjects (crosses) – and came up with my first angel – very colorful with lots of texture (experimenting with a pallet knife)  I sent a picture to my sister asking her thoughts.  Her reply was “You have found your voice” which has turned out to be my life song as I have painted these ethereal beings sculpted out of oil paints in hopes that they bring peace and hope to the collectors.”

Hold onto Hope, 8×12, Hebrews 10-23, oil on canvas

What keeps you inspired to create? 

“Other creative people and the world in which we live in.  To see a sunset — or a tree and the different color of green on the leaves.  I know I am crazy — but when I look at God’s creation whether a sunset or the way the light hits the surf and the sand — I start thinking in my mind the different ways to mix and create those colors.  Another thing that keeps me inspired are people.  Their stories that are shared from my paintings — especially the angels.  I hear from so many people how these paintings have ministered to them in times of sorrow, joy, crisis, or just the fact that the art (angels) ‘moved them’  to tears.”

In these difficult and vulnerable times, what message do you have for our community?  

“In these uncertain times, for our health and our economy, I believe that we must not turn our eyes onto the situation but fix our eyes on the great Creator and His promises and truths. I am an artist and I love to create beauty.  But I know that my Creator is the master artist himself and he will bring beauty from these ashes (COVID-19).  I am praying that everyone at ANFA would continue to be a light in the midst of this craziness and that our art will continue to bless many not only in our community but beyond.”

Anne mixing colors in the studio

During this time of social distancing, what book or movie would you recommend to our readers?

“Even though I have written two books and have another published devotional due out this fall — I am not much a reader… BUT that could change with all the “stay home” orders!  Movies I love and could watch movies over and over…one to watch — Little Women.  I have seen this movie now 3 times. Having 3 daughters, it is the most precious movie about family, sisters, forgiveness, trials, tribulations and the deep desires and talents that God has deposited into each one of us.”

Still from Little Women

To find out more about what inspired Anne’s missions, we at ANFA encourage you to read New York Times Best Seller “Same Kind of Different as Me”, written by renowned Art Dealer Ron Hall. You can also watch the documentary on Netflix.

What are you listening to these days?

“I absolutely love listening to any kind of praise music…Bethel, Elevation Worship, For King and Country, K-Love radio — anything that brings God’s truth through the airwaves… especially now.  If you listen to the words of these songs — it will be such peace for your soul.”

Other than art, what is your favorite hobby? 

“Traveling.   Oh how I love to travel (especially with my family)  and I am praying that our world will get back to normal soon.  In the meantime, I will be getting a lot of painting done, a little writing, and some much home time with my wonderful family!”

In Bloom, 6×6, oil on panel

If you could have dinner with any living or diseased artist, who would it be?  And where would you take them for dinner? 

“Michelangelo — at my home.  I love to entertain and would put on a great dinner party for him.  I am fascinated by his works — on a family trip we toured the Sistine Chapel — no words.  Just incredible.”

How have you been spending your time during these past few weeks of social distancing and staying at home? 

“Honestly, I wish I could say I am getting a lot done such as cleaning out closets etc.  And I don’t want to whine about this — but we are in the midst of a messy renovation (which included no kitchen)…so, I really can’t clean out closets or drawers or anything except stare at my piles randomly placed in random rooms.  It’s a mess but I am trying to find messages within the mess.  I am trying to find peace in the midst of chaos.  And it is somewhat of a parallel of what our world is going through right now.  So, I do the best I can with six adults now under one roof (without a kitchen) and finding silver linings along the way.  I do slip out every once in a while to my studio to paint, and that always brings me peace in the midst. “

Redeeming Love, 10×8, John 3-16, oil on canvas

How are you, ANFA, and ANH giving back to the community to support those direly affected by COVID-19 in any way? 

“My calling and mission is still the same.  19 years ago when my painting was a hobby, raising my 4 kiddos, volunteering at the local homeless shelter — I left the homeless shelter asking myself – HOW am I going to do all this.  Be a good wife.  A good mom.  My passion was to paint. My heart wanted to serve our community.  How was I going to do it ALL.  I clearly heard a whisper in my spirit to “paint and give back” and that was the start of this incredible journey.  Today it remains the same.  Art will never die — art is a necessity.  I love the quote from Pablo Picasso – “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”.  Art is unique.  It brings people together.  It brings healing to the soul.  We will continue to use art at ANFA (we have some amazing artists) to minister and give back to those affected by the COVID-19 crisis, mainly focusing on children who have been affected.  Daily, we will rely on our GOD who will supply all our needs according to His riches in Jesus Christ.”

What is the overall message you hope that people receive when contemplating your art? 

“This is the message that goes on every Angel painting:  The angel series began on a piece of paper as sketches reflecting my faith and evolved onto the canvas as ethereal abstract beings sculpted out of oil paint.  Much like our lives, which start out as a blank canvas, we face trials and tribulations on the journey of life.  Through these experiences, whether joyful or difficult, God adds color and texture along our paths to create a beautiful masterpiece.  My prayer is that the art born in my studio will always be a beautiful reminder for you and your home and life that God is our creator and the fulfiller of His promises to you.”

You can learn more about Anne Neilson’s books and products inspired by her original paintings by visiting www.anneneilsonhome.com or following @anneneilsonhome on Instagram. Continue along with us to to further find out how ANFA loves to use art in order to better the community, Charlotte and further.

Logan Sutton, Gallery Coordinator

Artist Spotlight: Marcy Gregg

Mar 31, 20

Marcy Gregg is an incredibly gifted artist with an incredibly unique and inspiring story. She has been an integral part of ANFA, consistently bringing us her hard work and determination since we have been open. A local artist originally from Texas, her studio is nestled in Dilworth Artisan Station right here in Charlotte, NC. We are highlighting her this week not only for her dynamic abstracts and beautiful color palettes, but also for her consistently positive + faithful outlook.

Marcy mixing colors in her Charlotte studio

You begin every canvas by writing a scripture in red. Can you tell us a little about your process? Are your color palettes inspired by the scripture or do those come more intuitively? 

“It’s true, I begin every piece with a Bible verse. The verse is usually something that specifically speaks to me during my morning quiet time. Once it’s written across the entire canvas, I begin choosing the colors. Color excites me as an artist, and I just choose intuitively; mixing my palette as I go along.”

What keeps you inspired to create?

“I am inspired by color, shapes and lines that I see all around me. I also listen to music when painting. Music always inspires me.”

Marcy in front of Loyal Love, 60×48

There are so many layers to your work. How do you know when a piece is finished? That is always tricky. When do you walk away? 

“When I began to feel that I am finished I will set the work aside for several days…even a week or two.  Then I put the painting back on the easel. If at that point it feels done… I sign it.”

Do you have an all time favorite piece? If so, which one and why do you gravitate towards it? 

“I do. It’s actually in the foyer of my home.  It is the colors of the large 60×60 painting, “Happy Song” that make me smile. I just couldn’t sell that one.”

Marcy’s favorite piece hanging in the foyer of her home

How do you feel about commissions?

“Commissions are an exciting and welcomed challenge. I always appreciate the opportunity to create for someone or some place specifically.”

During this time of social distancing, what book or movie would you recommend to our readers?

“The book, God is Able by Priscilla Shirer. It is a great read!”

Other than art, what is your favorite hobby?

“I enjoy my mornings at the gym, and when I get the opportunity, I love to travel.”

If you could have dinner with any living or deceased artist, who would it be? Where would you take them?

“I would love to have dinner with Paul Cezanne. I would ask him to take me to his hometown of Aix-en-Provence, and there we talk about all that we have talked about today…his color palette, his inspiration, his favorite piece, and how he knew a painting was finished. That dinner would be amazing!”

Cezanne’s studio in Aix-en-Provence that you can visit today – Marcy has been!

In November we showcased your new body of work in Standing Still. In addition to your abstracts, you created very Cezanne inspired still lifes. Viewers were in love with the unique perspectives and bold color palettes.  What can we expect to see next from Marcy Gregg?

“Since I will be out of my studio with the recent ‘Stay at Home’ order issued, I will begin a new series of small gouache on paper paintings. No large oil paintings done in my townhome!”

.None to Compare, Marcy Gregg, 5.5×9, gouache on paper

Follow Marcy on Instagram and stay tuned to see the new gouache paintings she is going to be creating while the “Stay at Home” order is in effect.

—Logan Sutton, Gallery Coordinator


Artist Spotlight: Case Baumgarten

Mar 20, 20

Case Baumgarten is ANFA’s newest emerging artist. He returned back to his native home of Charlotte after receiving a BFA from the prestigious Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C. in 2018. We asked him to be a part of our Black X White exhibition in January 2020 as a guest artist – people were so enamored with his dynamic and textural artwork that we knew we had to keep him on our roster.

Case Baumgarten, Neon Highway, 36×36, SOLD

You are our newest emerging artist and you showcase talent that is seemingly way beyond your years. Tell us a little about your artistic journey so far.

“Growing up in a household that encouraged creation and imagination had a major impact on who and what kind of artist I am today. It was a privilege to not really have to worry about what I was going to do after college. My career path was slow, to begin with, but my hunger for creativity will lead me in the right direction for the future.”

Describe your aesthetic in three words.

“Story, Blip, Connection”

Case Baumgarten, A Blip from Him, 69×34

What are you currently listening to?

“I mostly keep it quiet while working, ambient noise can be interesting if you have a second to really listen.”

What keeps you inspired?

“Other artists for sure, but for my more serious work I pull a lot from memories.”

You use many different mediums which I believe adds such a beautiful depth to your work. Can you explain a little bit about your process?

“As a young artist within our educational system, there were moments where thinking on your feet became the only financially applicable option. A lot of times, this when you start using materials you wouldn’t have thought about, using motor oil as paint or a mop as a brush, scavenging any kind of materials. Experimenting is how you push your work forward, finding out what works for you and what doesn’t.”

You work in both 2D and 3D, which we can’t wait to begin showcasing more of your 3D work. Do you have a preference of which to work in?

“I find it important to work in both mediums simultaneously. Each medium can play an important part in the other. Training your imagination to have multiple viewpoints when only working on just one piece.”

Case Baumgarten, in front of his series “Moon Daisies” about homelessness.

How do you know when a piece is finished?

“When I start to find excuses to paint on a certain piece, that’s an important indicator the work is done or close to being finished.”

What period of art history or which artists have the most influence on your work? If you could have dinner with any famous artist, who would it be and why?

“I would say the Contemporary Art movement now has the most influence in my work. There are so many talented artists out in the world and are easily visible thanks to social media. It’s easy to login to Instagram or Facebook and see an awesomely stunning work one after another…

Sitting down with Lee Krasner would be a joy for me. I wouldn’t ask much of anything, but maybe I’d ask if she was the real embodiment of her husband’s work. “

If you could recommend one book or movie, what would it be? It doesn’t have to be art-related. 

“Between The World And Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates”

If any, what message do you wish viewers receive from your art?

“When referring to my more serious work, I hope people understand when looking at these pieces – that everyone has a story, that people have experiences you do not and vice versa. Just for my audience to acknowledge that would be satisfying enough. “

Where do you see yourself & your art in the next 5 years?

“Hopefully chasing some of the bigger galleries around the world. I think being around other artists with enormous talent such as theirs, would only encourage me to keep pushing and looking for that new Ah-Ha moment.”

Case Baumgarten, Premonition, 69×36

Case’s career is only at its beginning. Stay tuned for more from him in the coming year at ANFA. His name is one you won’t want to forget…

—Logan Sutton, Gallery Coordinator


‘Tis the Season for Art

Dec 13, 19

Oh, what fun it is to collect and give art! With the holiday season in full swing, check out our on theme winter works that are perfect for this time of year! We have quite a collection of cheery and bright that is superb for any holiday gift for that special someone!

Get Ya Some“, 4 x 12, Heather Blanton, Currently Available at ANFA Gallery.

Standing Still: Marcy Gregg

Nov 11, 19

A solo exhibition featuring Marcy Gregg, Standing Still opens Thursday, November 14, 6-8 PM. Renowned for her distinctive abstract paintings which spring from a love of color and line, this exhibition will feature works by Marcy Gregg, including a series of still lifes.

A Million Reasons“, 60 x 48, Currently Available at ANFA Gallery.


Oct 9, 19

Join us Thursday, October 10th for the opening reception of ANIMALIA, a solo exhibition featuring Alex Beard.

Pelicans of the Blue Bayou“, 48 x 60, Currently Available at ANFA Gallery.

Oil on canvas and ink on paper originals. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Watering Hole Foundation to help endangered species and the wildernesses in which they live.


Artist’s Lecture + Demo with Bethanne Kinsella Cople

Sep 3, 19

This Thursday, September 5, 10:30 AM–12:30 PM

Bethanne Kinsella Cople is a featured artist in our upcoming exhibition TERRAIN, opening this Thursday evening, September 5th.

Sometime Too Hot the Eye of Heaven Shines“, 20 x 20, Currently Available at ANFA Gallery.

Terrain: A Landscape Collective

Aug 16, 19

TERRAIN: a lanscape collective, opens Thursday, September 5th 6-8PM and features 8 artists: Stuart Coleman Budd, Sarah Gayle Carter, Bethanne Kinsella Cople, Millie Gosch, Sandy Ostrau, Robert Roth, Charlotte Terrell and Sally Veach. Contemporary and traditional, the eclectic styles of their works all depict the classical imagery of landscape. For centuries artists all over the world have captured the beauty of nature and we’ve seen this tradition sail steady as each artist has their own impression.

Read on to learn more about each of the featured artists in the show and view their impression of landscape!


What’s Up?

Aug 2, 19

Our Form, Figure, Gesture show has come down and What is Up—is a Rehang! The season of change is almost upon us so come check out our walls featuring new arrivals and summertime works up now—through early September!

Read on to view the works and familiarize yourself with the featured artists!