Why Surrounding Yourself With Art Is A Worthwhile Pursuit

Chicago chef Anna Posey on her dedication to supporting artists and the thrill of building an inspiring collection.

July 17, 2017 ● 2 min read

As told to Priya Krishna by Anna Posey | Photograph of Elske dining room via Anna Posey, Instagram

I have always been into art.

One of my earliest memories is making finger paintings in kindergarten, accidentally ripping one of mine, and crying uncontrollably. Even through elementary and high school, all my teachers knew that I didn’t want to do anything else but be in the art room, painting and drawing.  

I got a scholarship to go to art school in Milwaukee, and when I graduated, all pumped up by my art teachers who told me I was so amazing…I couldn’t find a job. So I started exploring: I applied to AmeriCorps, I worked in the state parks in Delaware, and eventually landed in the food industry. I knew it wasn’t art, but it was similar in that it was challenging and creative and you could do it for your whole life and continue to learn. I didn’t touch a pen or paintbrush for a couple of years, but then slowly but surely, I started sketching and posting those doodles to Instagram. I got tons of great feedback, so I decided to pick art back up again.  

I have a buddy, Stephen Torres, who does a ton of work with chef conferences. He asked me to design a few posters for his events — he has always been my number one supporter — and pushed me to take on other art gigs as well. I did a couple murals at restaurants, including one at the Violet Hour in Chicago. I loved being able to weave my interest in art into the industry in which I was working.  

Then my husband's brother, Mark Posey, who is a painter in Los Angeles, convinced us to start collecting art. Right now, the art in our house mostly includes pieces that Mark has recommended to us, but we are really hoping to expand the collection. Life is short, and art is so beautiful — it's a good thing to spend money on. It gives you something beautiful to look at every single day. The pieces that we have are ones that we really cherish. I am looking at this painting in our kitchen, it’s called “Hope You Forget Me” by Paige Turner-Uribe. The piece has this ability to put you in a very particular emotional state and place. It reminds me of morning and summer and nice vibes. Being surrounded by art makes me feel so good.   

We are also starting an art collection in our restaurant, Elske. We have a big piece by David’s brother behind the bar, and two vintage big block paintings that I repainted. We are not in a rush when we collect; we want to take our time, and acquire those pieces that mean something special.  

The way I see art collecting, and art in general, is that everything is so fleeting, and art is something that you will have forever. You can pass it down, and you can enjoy it your entire life, as opposed to a pair of shoes or a t-shirt. There are so many cool artists out there — it feels so worthwhile to me to be supporting them.