Anna Grayson is a scientist by training, and a writer and broadcaster by profession. She was formerly known as a regular voice on Radios 4 and 5, and as the first woman to present a Natural World on BBC2. Writing and presenting a set of short films about the geology of Britain earned her the Glaxo Wellcome Award in 1999. Earlier that decade she hit the headlines by discovering a natural form of Prussian blue – a naturally occurring mineral that had properties hitherto unknown to science. The whole body of her TV, radio, newspaper articles and books on landscape and geology resulted in the R.H. Worth Prize from the Geological Society, the Royal Academy of Art’s neighbour in Burlington House.
Ageism from the BBC and sexism from the scientific establishment eventually persuaded her to evolve from an observational scientist into an observational artist, and she enrolled at Exeter College to study Art and Design. Although she continued to make occasional short films she returned to her roots in still photography as well as developing work with drawing, painting and ceramics. The change from scientist to artist was not as mind blowing as she had imagined – involving the same degree of careful observation, but different ways of selecting, recording and communicating those observations.
She is now best known for her photographic pastiches of great works of art. We all fancy the idea of our favourite Old Master hanging on our wall at home, but the thought of a standard reproduction is a bit naff. Anna wanted to show the richness of interpretation and timelessness of the best art by working them into original contemporary pieces with a modern message. So you can have your cake with icing on it – your favourite priceless masterpiece bound into a highly-affordable contemporary original.
In 2013 she received a commendation at the South West Academy for her pastiche of Jan Van Eycks’ Arnolfini Marriage. The same photograph was hung in the 2014 Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy in London, where it created a minor sensation, with 38 red dots, “Twitter Image of the Day”, and much amused discussion. Three more pastiches have been selected for the 2014 SWAc Open Exhibition and some of her work has featured in the London Pinhole Festival. Anna is a regular exhibitor at the TAAG Gallery in Teignmouth, and at Artizan in Torquay. She is also exhibiting at the Gloss Gallery in Exeter.