by Adam Grobman
Anat Ronen’s artwork is larger than life. Literally.
The Israeli-American artist has made a name for herself for her work painting murals and other pieces all over the world. Frequently incorporating animals, humans, and humor, and hope, her artwork knows few bounds besides the oversized wall canvases she works on.
Now, Anat is bringing her unique blend of color, light, and life to Harrisburg during Sprocket Mural Works 2019 HBG Mural Fest, where she will create one of ten new murals in the city.
“I’m very excited about the festival,” says Anat, who will be painting at 263 Oliver Alley, across from the State Museum building between 3rd & Susquehanna Streets. on a wall about 50’ x 30’. “Every mural at this festival is going to have an impact.”
Anat and her husband first moved to the United States after a visit in 2005. Following the visit, they felt the need for more space than Israel offered, and applied for a temporary visa. Anat worked a day job at the time, and it wasn’t until she applied for an 01 visa (reserved for people with extreme abilities, like actors, musicians, and artists) that she dove into art full-time. Anat and her family now reside in Houston, Texas.
She started out working in many different mediums: graphic design, web design, illustration, and eventually, murals. She quickly found that she had the skillset to be successful in the world of jumbo art.
“You have to have the right balance of speed, quality, and design to make it work,” she says, noting that pieces that might ideally be created over the course of months must often be completed in a matter of a few days due to time constraints at festivals. Anat plans to paint the mural in Harrisburg in five days.
With time limitations in place, planning and preparation is extremely important to the success of the project. Yet, when Anat arrives onsite, things are rarely as expected. “You have to be somewhat of a Macgyver to survive these festivals,” she says. “Usually it works out. We’re not building bridges or buildings. It’s just art.”
As a self-trained artist, Anat is able to work outside of the boundaries of a formal education. “For me, everything is a challenge and everything is achievable. I just look at things and I translate what I feel and see into paint. I let it flow through me.”
Anat’s mural in Harrisburg will include portraits of various children representing the community. She invites community members to introduce themselves as she works. “Naturally I’m an introvert, but I’m very social when I’m working,” she says.
Anat will be in Harrisburg from September 1st – 8th. She is excited to share her artwork with the community for years to come. “I’m grateful for these opportunities,” she says. “I got into this because it was the only way to stay here. But then the art became the person that I am. I see how much joy it brings people.”
The 2019 HBG Mural Fest is a project of Sprocket Mural Works, which held its’ first mural festival in 2019. This year’s festival will take place from August 30 – September 8, during which artists will create 10 new murals to grace the walls of Harrisburg buildings. For more info on artists, locations, and events, visit www.sprocketmuralworks.com.