The Table – Anja Dunk

How did you start out on this path? Did you always know this was what you wanted to be doing?

I’ve always loved to paint and draw and have done it in every spare moment since I can remember. My career in food started when I was 25 in a brilliant place called Ultracomida – aside from the enjoyment of the act of cooking itself, it was the feeling of cooking for others that really made me want to do what I do.

How has your work evolved since you first started making?

Most of the art I make fits in around my other work as a free-lance cook, which means that I tend to draw, paint and lino-cut manageable sized pieces. I don’t like to have projects hanging over me for long periods of time. These days I draw and paint edibles much more than anything else, which is a reflection of what I do for a living.

How do you approach studio time – get yourself into the right frame of mind for creating/making?   Do you work better at certain times of the day?

Sadly studio time is very limited – I try to fit in at least one hour a day and often it’s late at night. The dream is to one day set aside a couple of days a week. What I will say is that I find I’m more productive if I have limited time because I really try and make the most of what little I have. When I have set aside whole days to paint I get far less done!

How do you challenge yourself within your work? Do you always see yourself working in this medium?

I try to stretch myself over a few mediums actually – this is a natural way of pushing the boundaries and being outside of my comfort zone – Small courses are a great way of delving into another medium. I went on a short weekend lino course with Ian Phillips and that was the start of my small run lino-cut series.

What would/has been your ideal commission?

I tend not to like commissions so much because there is the pressure of working to someone’s expectations. The best commission I’ve done is a staircase mosaic, where I’d set out the expectations right from the start and there was a clear vision on the end piece.

We know that social media channels such as Instagram play a pivotal role now in giving a platform to artists. To what extent has it benefitted you?

Do you think it’s possible for it to ever truly replace a traditional bricks and mortar gallery?

I think it’s a very important platform and has played a huge role in where I am today. That said, I don’t think it ever will or ever could replace a bricks and mortar gallery. There is something so special about standing up close and personal with a work in the flesh. It’s a feeling you can only get from galleries. Also the energy and buzz of a gallery is half the point for me – I love seeing peoples reactions to works.


Is there a recent exhibition that you have loved so much and encouraged everyone to go see?

I recently saw an exhibition by Mark Frith at Kew Gardens. It was a series of large scale graphite drawings of oak trees – I was totally blown away by how majestic they were.


What does the future hold for you and your work? Do you have any exciting plans for 2020?

Lots more recipes and lino cuts to come!

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