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Anna Ayres is living out her full-time artist's dream in the Sunshine City, but her love of painting and art came much earlier - from her roots in Vermont. The delight of ever-changing seasons fostered Ayres' love for the natural world, something she translates into art through painting. Predominately self-taught, Ayres experiments with acrylic, oil and watercolor paints. She also sells hand-designed hats, which she creates by custom order. In her free-time, Ayres works with two local nonprofits, Nomad Art Bus and Creative Clay.

Years in Tampa Bay


Hustle (job)

Fine Art Painter

What do you do?  

I create fine art in oil, acrylic and watercolor paints inspired by nature.

Why do you do it?

Because our imaginations can change the world.

What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)

I grew up in Vermont and that’s where the urge to translate the natural world into paint originated. As a child, I spent a lot of time playing outside, in the woods and open spaces that Vermont provides. Back then I loved to draw, mostly princesses and castles, but college art courses introduced me to painting. Painting offered a language to express the energy I saw and felt in the natural world.

What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?

I focus on oil work at this point in my career. Acrylic paint (water based) introduced me to painting. If you’re not a painter, it’s hard to know the difference as the two mediums can look quite similar, or not similar at all, depending on how they’re used. For me, oil is a more technically challenging, labor intensive, slower drying medium that’s taken me years to grow comfortable with using as I continue to evolve as a painter. Sometimes I wonder if viewers know this about the work.

What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?

I think that in calling oneself an artist, there is a whopping umbrella of mediums, subject matter and styles the term can include. Additionally, there are endless ways in which to get one’s art out there these days, from festivals to markets to galleries to online platforms, etc. In the beginning we want to say yes to it all. But with experience, we learn there’s a given path for each one of us as artists, which is completely unique from any other artist before, after or during our track. It’s a process learning what to say yes to and what to say no to that takes time, experience and a lot of faith.

What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?

There are two that come to mind: “Keep Going,” – Austin Kleon. “Be so good they can’t ignore you,” – Steve Martin.

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