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‘More than just a moment in time’ – Aneta Wnek & Charcoal and Champagne

Late last year, the Perth Art Upmarket did a write up on the serendipitous beginnings of Charcoal and Champagne and their founder Aneta Wnek ... here's the article in case you missed it – enjoy!


"What is now a thriving business, hosting award-winning workshops and social pop-up events, once had humble beginnings in spontaneous travel sketches and hosting hens drawing parties for friends. For Aneta Wnek, the artist behind it all, the genesis of Charcoal and Champagne has been the result of a collection of experiences that serendipitously came together.

How it all started

In many ways, the creativity and concepts behind Charcoal and Champagne were seeded in Aneta’s travels to Thailand in November, 2004. In an effort to connect with the places and people Aneta was experiencing throughout her trip, she began to draw some of the characters she was fortunate enough to meet along the way. Here, Aneta’s art project ‘Lifelines – Portraits of Serendipity’ was born.

“I realised then the significance of the bond I had formed with these individuals, and that in the process of creating these portraits I had captured more than just a moment in time.”

Since then, especially when traveling, Aneta uses her intuition and embraces serendipity, to approach strangers on the street across the world, listen to their stories, and capture who they are, live in the moment, through her portraits.

“It’s an amazing exchange of experiences – especially when some of the boundaries are massive cultural differences and language itself ... but these vanish, and a human bond remains, leaving a lasting impression on both of us.”

The Charcoal and Champagne experience

Throughout these experiences, Aneta was able to reconnect with her creativity and also develop a distinctive artistic style and a philosophy. These experiences opened Aneta’s eyes to

“embracing vulnerability, connection, what it is to be human, the magic of ‘seeing’ someone and what it means to be ‘seen’.”

Similarly, Aneta is passionate about learning how to overcome the fears of rejection, perfection and the inner control freak, which in turn, are now a big part of what Aneta teaches others through Charcoal and Champagne.

“My collective experiences and learnings about creativity, people and connection have manifested into the Charcoal and Champagne workshops which give me the opportunity to bring unique learning and fun, social experiences to people.”

Charcoal and Champagne has received a number of awards to date. Most recently, the Charcoal and Champagne Hens Parties experience won the Best Hens Events in Western Australia at the esteemed Wedding Industry Awards 2022

“these are voted for by actual clients, so it’s an absolute honour to receive this!” says Aneta.

Personally, Aneta loves the events where the majority of guests may not usually attend art classes –

“this provides a wonderful opportunity for them to reconnect with that dormant creative side and surprise themselves in many fabulous ways. It is an incredibly empowering experience for many.”

The Process Behind Aneta's Artworks

Aneta’s Lifelines portraits are primarily drawn with a felt ink pen –

“they are spontaneous, intuitive, and 100% drawn live and in the moment”.

Aneta explains, they are never touched up later on, she actively works to let go of perfection and simply let the portraits capture a moment in time.

Whilst most of Aneta’s works are in monotone forms, utilising ink and charcoal, there are moments where Aneta shows off her love of colour –

“particularly, working with the nudes, I like to bring in soft pastels for their dusty, textural, hands on properties and I also love to work on recycled sometimes handmade paper.”

You’ll notice, throughout Aneta’s work, the human form is an important element. Aneta explains,

“I love life-drawing for so many of the things that it brings with it, part of which is the celebration of the ‘real’ human body.”

It brings a direct contrast to the “lies and distortions” Aneta has seen first-hand when previously working in advertising.

“Over time, I have realised that this rawness is a part of the appeal and magic. Their imperfections are part of their story.”

The future of Charcoal and Champagne

Aneta and the Charcoal and Champagne experience strive to keep reconnecting and empowering people who may have strayed from their childhood creative selves.

“We aim to give people a unique experience where they can rediscover what it feels like to be an artist whilst confronting their hesitations of drawing the human form ... armed with charcoal in one hand, and a glass of champagne in the other!”

You will find Charcoal and Champagne and Aneta's pastel nude artworks at the 2023 Art Upmarket at UWA or you access them online.



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