Artist Anna Koon, aka "a2n2," Keeps Evolving

The longtime JP artist’s new show “Trees and Tweets” opens this evening at UFORGE Gallery.

Right after graduating from college in 1993, Anna Koon, who is also known by her tag of a2n2, moved to Jamaica Plain. “I’ve lived here off and on since,” she said.   “It has a lot of inspiration.  Not even mentioning the great artistic environment and all of the creative people,” she explained, “JP has a small town feel while being in the city.  There’s the best of both worlds.”

Koon, who has exhibited throughout the United States, keeps close community connections.  She is a member of the JP Arts Council where she holds the position of educator–in-residence.  As such, she leads two workshops.  One instructs local artists how to have a successful Open Studio, the annual celebration of the arts held in JP each September.  The other, she stated, helps artists “to make a hobby into a profession.”    In addition to being a full-time artist, Koon also works as a small business consultant and creative coach.

Koon describes herself as a “multi-media” artist.  Items in her artistic arsenal include ink, Sharpie, acrylic, gouache, charcoal and other materials.  All of the work in ” is painted on birch panels, some of which are recycled.

It’s a way to keep them priced affordably,” she stated.  “They don’t need to be framed.”

A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, the entrepreneurial Koon, who runs an online store to sell her art as well as other items like magnets and handbags, said that her education "emphasized creativity but not business."

Often working in series, Koon’s past portfolio has depicted a variety of subjects.  An early, sold-out series called “Women on Wood” were challenging, 6-foot tall nude constructions that the artist described as “Amazonian.”   One of them is on permanent display at in the South End.

Koon’s narrative “Retro Girl” series portrays young women in gritty city settings, and evokes the fashions and feel of the 1980s. 

“I came of age then,” during that period of “alternative, New Wave and punk,” which Koon noted has been recently revived for a younger generation.

“I still listen to that music when I work,” she said.

With “Whole Lotta Love,” a work first exhibited at the ” show last February, Koon created a giant Valentine. 

“It’s Pop,” she remarked.  “I like pink and red, and the garish colors of Valentine’s Day.”

In a later series, she found inspiration in vintage Japanese postcards, which led her to explore birds as subjects.

“Birds have always been very special to me,” wrote Koon in her online profile.  “From the time I was small I have been fascinated with their vivid colors, their songs, their nest making, their beautiful fragile eggs, even their flight.”

Despite the variety in Koon’s work, she stated that “there is a thread that runs through them of colors and technique.  People can recognize an a2n2.”

For the title of Koon’s current show at , Koon said that she created “a whole new body of work.”  The exhibition explores both new and familiar territory.  “Tweets” refers not to Twitter but to a new series of bird paintings on display at the gallery.  On trees as subjects, the artist said “that as the main content, they are new.  I’ve fallen in love with lines.” 

By comparison with Koon’s earlier oeuvre, elements of “ are reduced and more simply rendered.  “I’m not sure where my work is taking me,” stated Koon.  “Perhaps to abstraction.”

The opening reception for “” will be held tonight 7 p.m.at .  Besides “Trees & Tweets,” there will also be treats provided by   “I want to thank people for their continued support,” added Koon. “I’ve developed nice relationships and my clients have become long-term ones.”

(617-533-4480) is located at 767 Centre St.  a2n2’s exhibition “” will be on display there through Aug. 14.


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