About Annie Watkins art and music

I have always been passionate about art and music. As an artist and educator, I’ve been fortunate to pursue my creative passions. I invite you to share this journey with me.

Early Years

I studied classical piano for eight years as a child and into my teens progressing through all the grades.

In my twenties I met Dale Chant who encouraged me to learn improvisation. This opened up a whole new world of musical involvement as I moved from classical, through folk music and jazz to rock bands.

in the late 1970s, Dale and I joined a band called ‘PianoPiano’ where we met guitarist Marc Tracey. I played keyboards and Dale played saxophone in this group.

Marc, Dale and I left to form Autofax with drummer Helen Smart. I sang and played keyboards in this lineup and bought my first synthesizer, a modest Roland 101

Modern Chant

 We were experimenting with a more electronic sound and I had upgraded my synth to a brilliant Roland Jupiter 8. I played keyboards, sang and wrote lyrics. Marc played guitar and Dale created all the sequencing and computer programming. He also played the saxophone and flute. We were a hybrid mix of traditional and electronic at a time when most other bands were either one or the other.

Modern Chant played regularly around the Melbourne inner city pubs and venues in the 1980s. We released three records. A single featuring ‘Swanston Street’ / ‘Victim of the Sixties’: an EP titled ‘Southern Perspective’, and an album titled ’Doing it and Dying of it’. Our music was described by one reviewer as ’The B52s with a social conscience’

Triple Muse

In the early nineties I had moved on from rock n roll and I formed Triple Muse, an alternative theatre group with two other women. We staged ‘Sacred dramas’ based on myths and stories of ancient Goddesses. Sometimes we performed these in theatres. At other times we sought out unusual venues such as the former Melbourne Meat Market, the great hall at Montsalvat, and Carclew house for the Adelaide Fringe Festival. We creatively transformed these venues into working theatrical spaces for our performances. It was a grand vision but impossible to sustain without a lot of backing.

During this time I produced a suite of meditation tapes in conjunction with one of the members of the group. I also wrote music and lyrics and directed and performed in the dramas.

Impressionist Music

Medusa Goddess Acapella

For the majority of these years between 1970 and 2000 I also held a full time job working as an art, music and/or drama teacher in various schools.

Visual Arts

I transitioned to a more art based lifestyle in the 2000s. For many years I conducted a business working around festivals, street fairs and private gatherings painting henna body art.

I was an inaugural member of the Dandenong ranges Open Studios program and exhibited in the group exhibitions held in conjunction with that event.

Across the years I participated in numerous workshops and short courses. I was fascinated with so many different aspects of art making and constantly sought to upgrade my skills by immersing myself in as many different artforms as possible. (I include gardening as one of these)

In 2009 I enrolled in a TAFE course in digital art and video making, combining the newest technology with traditional methods. As part of an ongoing involvement I ran an art gallery with some other students for a year after the end of the course.