Meet the Maker: Anayansi Jones


Amanda Jones is also known by her artist name Anayansi. An Orlando artist and ceramicist from Clearwater, and a graduate of UCF, Orlando is now where she calls home. This month she is curating her first exhibition at Mills Gallery. The show is called TREPIDATION and features artists Peterson Guerrier, PJ Svejda, Jason Littlefield, Ivelisse Perez, Scott White, and Evan Rosato. The opening is from 6-9PM and you may feel feelings if you decide to go. That’s what art does. And these locals are good at making us feel.

What time of day do you like to start working on your art?

I like to start working in the morning, around 9:30 or 10:00. I like working first thing in the morning because otherwise I might get caught up doing something that’s not related to creating and making art. I tend to be intense and focus when I work, however, I do take 5-10-minute breaks to keep my quality up. 

Do you want to be liked or respected?

I think generally everyone wants to be respected as an artist, but not everyone wants their work to be liked. Personally, I want to be respected, however, not everyone has to like me or my artwork. To me there is a huge difference between like and respect. I know the actual definition of respect is different from the way I use the word. To me respect is when you understand another person’s boundaries and you take each individual for who they are and what they create; however, under no circumstances do you have to like them or their work. Ideally, you can walk into a gallery and say, “I don’t like this work” but still respect it enough to recognize its value as art.

What does your support system look like?

I have a husband who supports me all the way. I go to a studio ceramic studio called Porch Pottery that has an open studio membership. All the artists there are very friendly and supportive. I also have 2 dogs and 3 cats that all stare at me when I’m doing work. Does that count as support? (Townie Tourist says YES!)

What would your key artist advice be?

Don’t be afraid to experiment with your work. Try different materials, different subjects, or objects that might not be consider art. AND don’t be afraid to fail or get rejected. 

What do you find the most difficult part of your work?

The most difficult part of my job is being my own boss. It’s both a blessing and a curse. As an artist you’re not just creating but your marketing yourself, managing your website, photographing your work, and going to exhibitions to represent yourself. It can feel very overwhelming and to me, if I fail at any of these tasks, the only person I have to blame is myself. But I remind myself that these things take time and experience is so valuable, so I try not to be too hard on myself. I’m bound to fail and I have been rejected many times. But this is part of the job. I just have to keep pushing forward.

Have you ever made a mistake you wish you could take back?

It’s not really a mistake but I lacked self-confidence when I was at UCF and I didn’t apply myself the way I know I could have.

Describe your typical Florida uniform. What do you wear when you want to feel like yourself?

Yoga pants with paint or clay all over them with comfy shoes and a shirt. I love to be comfortable.

How does Orlando inspire you?

Orlando is full of wonderful and friendly artists that inspire me to keep pushing myself. I love how friendly the art community is here and how many of the artists I’ve met are doing amazing things like murals, solo exhibitions, and just all-around impressive work.

What do you miss most about home when you travel?

I’m originally from Clearwater, Florida by Tampa. I miss the being really close to the beach and having that sea breeze. I miss driving over the Courtney Campbell Causeway and seeing the bay on either side. But when I leave Orlando, I miss my friends and the food. 

Describe your ideal food day in Orlando.

Easy! Beefy King for lunch and Asian food for dinner like Domu, Izziban, or Thai House. Any of those three! So good, I highly recommend all those places.


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