A story in wood

Anne Balser ’96

Photo: Anne Balser '96 at her Cawein Art Gallery exhibit.Anne Balser ’96 returned to Pacific in the fall with her display of woodworks in a Katherin Cawein Art Gallery exhibit, which ran through the month of September. Her work in woodworks is a new development in her career, after working with a variety of mediums. Balser said she is grateful to have found the natural surfaces of wood. ”Wood has the natural warm tones and values that I consistently paint with,” she said. ”I have a new appreciation of the material and its tendency to tell a story.”

Following Pacific, Balser lived in Los Angeles where she worked in various animation studios. Her professional background in animation has allowed her to continue her connection to both color and composition. Most notably, Balser worked with the television series ”The Simpsons” at Film Roman. She also worked on ”The Sprouts” at FM Rocks, ”Bag Boy” at Cartoon Network, ”Futurama” at Rough Draft Studios, and ”The Wild Thornberrys” at Klasky-Csupo. Her focus on these projects was mostly with the color design. She has also done the color design on commercials for companies such as Burger King, Master Card, and Ritz Crackers.

After living in Los Angeles for seven years, Balser now resides in Prescott, Ariz., where she has developed a body of work based on her new surroundings. ”I am now inspired by the desert,” she said. ”The desert intrigues me. I see layers of rock eroded away by time and weather that can be captured in the grains of my wood.”

Balser was recently awarded the Artist in Residency at the Grand Canyon National Park for the 2005 season. She has also had exhibitions at Brooklyn’s Amanecer Gallery; the Electric Lodge in Venice, Calif.; and the Sunflower Festival in Prescott, Ariz.

Originally from Baltimore, Md., Balser has spent much of her life traveling while experiencing the aesthetics of cities and villages around the world. Her woodworks display at Pacific highlighted the time she spent in the West, New Orleans, and the islands of Greece.

Balser first found her inspiration for art when she spent her senior year of high school in New Orleans. ”I loved how everyone enjoyed life through jazz and dancing.” She said she now enjoys returning to this vibrant city to paint. Two years ago Balser traveled to Greece. Today her works of this country are represented with the rolling hills and cobblestone streets. ”What I like most about the art making process is the freedom to escape one’s environment,” she added.

Returning to campus this fall brought back good memories of Balser’s time at Pacific as an art major, she said. ”Pacific gave me a real stepping stone in the direction I was going,” she said. ”It gave me a real fundamental base.”

By Jill Winger ’05