Heaven & Hell: Kelly Anna

Designer and artist Kelly Anna next to her mural in Antwerp

Designer and artist Kelly Anna next to her mural in Antwerp - Credit: Contributed

Kelly is a renowned artist and designer originally from East Anglia, known for her powerful, silhouetted figures. Inspired by female empowerment, her work is reminiscent of Matisse's collage, but with a modern twist. Her vibrant designs have been featured across a diverse body of work from trainers to popcorn packets and large scale printed murals. Her success has been solidified by the design collaborations with major brands such as Nike and LEGO®. Kelly's prints have been worn by the likes of Beyoncé and Cara Delevingne.  Here she talks to Gina Long...

What’s the impact of Covid-19 been on your life and how are you adapting?

I had a baby in June 2020 so my life is has changed completely despite the pandemic. The lockdowns however certainly made me take some time to focus on the ways I relax. I now really try and take a walk at lunchtime in the fresh air and make sure I eat well. They seem like small changes but they weren’t something I was prioritising before.

Glorious, by Kelly Anna

Glorious, by Kelly Anna - Credit: Contributed

What is your connection to East Anglia?

I was born in Ipswich. My entire family lives there. I moved to London 15 years ago and have been here ever since. Suffolk and Norfolk are part of my life and I hope they will always be.

What is your East Anglian Heaven?

I love going to swim in the lake at Flatford. I would go down every morning during my stay over summer, grab a coffee and croissant from the little cafe and sit by the water before going in for a swim. 

A jacket print designed by Kelly Anna

A jacket print designed by Kelly Anna - Credit: Nike

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What is your specialist Mastermind subject?

Women in modern art.

What is always in your fridge?

Oat milk and lots of fruit and veg.

What’s your simple philosophy of life?

Have at least a little fun every day!

Kelly Anna as a student. Kelly designed a T-shirt for Top Shop which ended up being bought by Beyonce. 

Kelly Anna as a student. Kelly designed a T-shirt for Top Shop which ended up being bought by Beyonce. - Credit: Archant

What’s your favourite film?

The Kids Are Alright.

What was your first job?

I worked as a gymnastics coach.

What is your most treasured possession?

My son.

Who do you admire most?

Anyone who works really hard to achieve their goals. 

What is your biggest indulgence?

Travelling, especially now being able to plan trips as a family.

Kelly Anna's mural design at Chelsea FC Women

Kelly Anna's mural design at Chelsea FC Women - Credit: Contributed

What do you like about yourself most?

I like to think I’m very approachable.

What’s your worst character trait?

I’m incredibly impatient.

Anna's collaboration with Nike - the Air Zoom Pegasus

Anna's collaboration with Nike - the Air Zoom Pegasus - Credit: Nike

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

Anywhere in Italy. I love the food, the culture and the sunshine. My family are half Italian so it’s in my bones I think. Visiting the beautiful North Norfolk Coast is always so special.

Best day of your life?

The day my son was born.

What’s your favourite breakfast?

Smashed avocado and tomatoes on toast with lots of chilli.

What’s your favourite tipple?

Natural wine - my absolute favourite is Astro Bunny.

What’s your hidden talent?

I don’t hide any of my talents.

What’s your earliest memory?

Drawing with my dad. Definitely where this all started.

Tell us something people don’t know about you?

I am not a very confident cook but my son seems to be a fan of my food so far.

What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?

You’re fired!

What do you want to tell our readers about most?

I have something really exciting releasing in 2022, do keep an eye on my social media for hints. In a week that has seen the Love All Auction launched, I have donated my Olympic Skaters 2021. An original framed artwork created with acrylic on wood board from a series inspired by skateboarding, which became an Olympic sport for the first time at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games. This unique artwork is dedicated to US professional skateboarders Leo Baker and Brian Anderson, my prize also includes a personal tour of my studio. For more information go to loveallauction.com kellyannalondon.com Insta: @kellyannalondon

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