Cornwall Life meets Cornish Slate artist Anika Manuel

PUBLISHED: 13:08 28 November 2012 | UPDATED: 22:26 20 February 2013

Photograph OF ANIKA: EMILY WHITFIELD-WICKS

Photograph OF ANIKA: EMILY WHITFIELD-WICKS

A newcomer on the Cornish art scene is creating a stir with the materials she paints on, as Andy Cooper discovered when he met her

Slated for success


A newcomer on the Cornish art scene is creating a stir with the materials she paints on, as ANDY COOPER discovered when he met her

In this golden Olympic year its difficult to think of an image of Team GBs victorious sportsmen and women that one hasnt encountered. That is until I meet Anika Manuel.

To be specific, its not so much the image as the MEDIUM which makes Anikas work so distinctive for a great many of her paintings of our sports heroes and heroines from this summer use Cornish slate as their backdrop.

I think painting the way I do on Cornish slate like this is completely unique, explains 24-year-old Anika when I meet her at the bedroom of her grandparents bungalow which she has converted into a light and airy studio.

It has created quite a stir with the athletes themselves and they have taken a great interest in my work. I even had Team GB Table tennis player Paul Drinkhall ask me to do his painting.

Anika had found her on own place on the artistic podium in London this summer when she was asked to exhibit at a show called in Vyner Street, called 20:12.

The show, which was popular with the general public and the Olympians themselves, featured 20 Team GB athletes selected by 12 of DegreeArts most distinct artists who came together to create twenty original pieces of art, which celebrate the British athletes and the spirit of the historical event.


I like the quirky and the different and that appealed to me

Each artist in the 20:12 collective has chosen an athlete, or aspect of the games as their muse and has created bespoke pieces that are to become historical punctuations in their artistic aesthetic, the athlete and the games as a whole.

I was delighted to be chosen to take part in the show, explains Anika. It was a really busy time in London and the focus on the Olympics make the theme of the exhibition extra special. There was a really good atmosphere and my work was showcased in front of loads and loads of people.

For Anika, the move into painting on slate came almost by accident: I am always messing around with different forms and mediums of painting and one day my granddad had had some work done on the roof and there were some spare slates in the garden.

It was suggested I could have a go at painting on those and I was pleased with the first results and it has grown from there, she adds.

The results are certainly distinctive and stunning and although Anika paints on other medium as well, it is for the slate work which she is carving something of a reputation.

I like the texture of it and the feel of it and the way no single backdrop is quite the same. I have been getting some commissions as a result of my work and it has been commented upon by a number of people that it is nice to see some art with a Cornish link.

Anika is now gradually building on her growing reputation and hopes to be exhibiting at shows in the New Year. She graduated with a First Class degree in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and Design, having originally studied at Penrice Secondary School in St Austell and Truro College, and is clearly a talent worth keeping an eye on.

I really enjoyed painting the Olympic stars on the slate, but I have also been experimenting with other famous faces, including George Harrison my favourite Beatle which I have just finished, she reveals.

I also did a series of pieces when I was doing my degree featuring men who wear glasses. I like the quirky and the different and that appealed to me.

So where now as she contemplates her next career move?

Id love to be able to stay down in Cornwall and continue painting. Its my home county and I always feel happiest here.

My grandparents have set me up with a light and airy room at their house for me to use as a studio and I love working here in the peace and quiet. Its my little sanctuary where I can really create.

For more information visit www.anikamanuel.com or on Twitter @AnikaManuelArt

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