Photography by Kathy Tran
When Anna Brindley sold a painting to ‘Schitt’s Creek’ actor and producer Dan Levy, she asked him to send a selfie with the painting once he received it in the mail. He quickly sent an image of himself holding the portrait of his TV mother, Moira.
“That’s gold isn’t it?” Brindley says. “I’m celebrity crushing, but he’s a true artist in every sense.”
Brindley’s background in fashion is one of the main reasons she admires the show’s incredible costume design. She earned an Associate of Arts in Fashion Design and a Bachelor of Science in Production Management Textiles from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
She’s always had an entrepreneurial spirit. In the ’80s before anyone dressed up pets or toted pups in purses, she had an idea for a dog clothing line. In 2009, Brindley created “Suitable Pajamas,” a line of fashion-forward pajamas which would have been perfect for the working-from-home era.
“It was too ahead of its time,” she says.
Brindley lives in Lake Highlands with her husband, Hanes, a world history teacher at LHHS and two daughters, Arabella and Anna Catherine.
Initial interest in art: Third grade because my mom used to give me a blank sketch book and markers for almost every birthday and Christmas. My mom always encouraged it and then put me in lessons. It just lights my fire, so to speak.
How she switched career paths: I’ve worked in tech for almost 23 years with retail and apparel manufacturers. I’ve worked since I was 11 years old, so I was suddenly without work. When the pandemic hit, I was a little bit lost, and my teenage daughter got me to do a daily art challenge. I did an April and May challenge, all of a sudden, I was selling artwork and people were asking to buy it. I’m kind of an entrepreneurial wannabe. This would be my fourth launch, so maybe the universe decides for me.
Art getting her through COVID-19: I’m not exaggerating when I say, I think it has saved me from despair. I know so many artists who don’t do their art, and I was one of those people. Almost every social media post I try to remember to say, “Do your art,” because people would private message me and say, “I want to do this with you.” I’m like, “Get on it. Do it. Please do it.” and, “The world needs to see it.”
Painting style: A lot of people find a groove and stay in it. I do the opposite of that. I love to paint still life. Portraiture and figure painting are probably my favorite, but I love landscapes. I’m now experimenting with abstract, which is the bigger mountain to climb. I’ve done 15 paintings I’ve shown to no one. I’m starting to call them “my little babies,” and I talk to them.
One tool she has to use: I love a paint rag. I feel like they’re part of my process, and they look like art when I’m done. I’m sure to other people they look like a hot mess. I feel lost if I don’t have the little towel with me.
Her daughters’ art: [Arabella is] 13 and probably a better artist than I am. She’s doing things that I wasn’t doing until college. It’s incredible. I have a daughter [Anna Catherine] who has Down Syndrome, she’s also a painter. I had them both painting literally in their diapers. I have pictures of them at the easel. I took my daughter who has Down Syndrome to a pre-school and the teacher said, “You know, your daughter doesn’t really play with toys.” I was like, “Well, have you seen her with a brush?” We had to turn our dining room into a little studio because painting is more important than eating, apparently.
Why she loves ‘Schitt’s Creek’: If you watched it for the fashion and turned off the sound, it would be still such an exciting show. It is comic genius and who doesn’t need to laugh right now.
Why she admires Dan Levy: He advocates for the marginalized. It was crazy because he was touching on all the areas for my family. Our daughter with Down Syndrome is high risk. She has respiratory illnesses, so we’ve had to completely lockdown. When he came out and said, “Wear a mask,” I thought, “Oh, thank you.” He did a tribute for teachers with Mariah Carey. He was taking care of everybody. Of course, he does a lot with the LGBTQ community. What a beautiful soul.
Current favorite fashion trend: It would have to be the pajamas because that was the one launch that would be killing it right now.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.