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Annmarie Gianni tote bag illustration and blog feature

Annmarie Gianni is a natural skincare company dedicated to ethical practices and quality, organic products and every season they hold a tote bag competition open to artists all over the world. I was honoured and super excited to win the Spring 2019 round! Below is my interview taken from their website.

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1. what made you become an artist? share your backstory with us.

I grew up in the misty green mountains of British Columbia and have been in love with art from the moment I could hold a crayon. My childhood was very centered around art with some of my earliest artworks inspired by the woods, bears and beauty of the rugged Canadian landscape. Eight years ago, in my early twenties, when I could no longer take the persistent rain, I moved to Sydney where I was immediately inspired by the laid back lifestyle, vivid light, stunningly unique flora, colours and textures of the abundant and varied habitat in Australia.

I was working in a bar and as a nanny however and just doing art on the side when I found the time. I was lost with what direction I should take my life in until one day my mum said, Sarah you are an artist, you should just be an artist. It was the biggest and also simplest revelation ever. It was kind of like, oh yeah, I should do that, of course I should. I enrolled in a three year illustration and graphic design course at Tafe and from then on art has once again been the centre of my life.

2. what does wild and beautiful mean to you?

To be honest, wild and beautiful – totally free to be and express yourself exactly as you are without inhibition. To not be afraid to shine your light. To make all your decisions from a place of love and abundance.

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3. where was the inspiration behind this piece you submitted?

Springtime in Australia is my favourite time and place that I've experienced so far. The flowers, particularly natives, bursting to life is something to behold! The promise of new beginnings that spring brings is so exciting.

I am of the belief that we belong to the earth, not the other way around and we need now more then ever to get back in touch with and respect our mama earth.

Ravens among other things symbolize rebirth and new beginnings which ties together the concept of spring beginnings and getting back to our roots and a more natural approach to living, something we as a society must do if we want to save our planet.

4. how would you describe the style of your work? and how did it come to be?

My illustration work reflects my love of nature, sustainability, architecture, everyday moments and simplicity. I love finding the beauty and art among all things. my style is a quirky, joyful and usually a mix of hand drawn and digital art.

I am pretty obsessed with colour and making sure the colour scheme evokes what the piece is all about.

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5. tell us about your creative process.

Just starting and seeing what happens. I do a lot of roughs and try not to settle on the first idea, instead I always try to push it a little further. If I'm feeling good and in the flow I can work for hours and hours but sometimes I'm not feeling it so I don't push it.

The creative process is a roller coaster and you just gotta ride out the highs and the lows. One minute you have no ideas and feel like you are falling and failing and the next you are riding this high of the best idea ever and nothing can stop you and then you hit a crazy loop, slam to a halt, hit another decent and then back up.

It's the ride that just keeps on going so you have to learn to ride out and accept all the phases as part of the journey.

6. what do you do when you're stuck in a creative rut?

Having been through many of these I have learnt that it's far better to walk away from the work and do something that fills you up and makes you happy in another way. I used to get stressed and down when I was in a creative rut.

Queue negative self talk and worrying that maybe I was never going to feel creative again, have another good idea or would never make anything worthwhile! Thoughts like these are not conducive to good creative work obviously! I now know and trust that the ideas and creativity will flow again eventually so I don't worry about it.

Instead I rest or play and wait patiently until those creative juices are ready to flow again!

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7. any pre- or mid-designing rituals?

The comfort of a cup of coffee or tea as I sit down to work is essential. A dog on my lap or at my feet for just the right amount of company helps too and of course some good tunes or podcast.

8. what's next for you? anything you want to plug?

Lots of travel! I moved out of my flat last month and am currently in my ‘rolling stone' phase. I'm housesitting at the moment which I am loving. I find change in routine, scenery, ideas (anything) really inspiring. At the end of the month I am traveling around Tasmania by myself. I am super excited to get amongst the epic nature with my sketch book.

After that I'm going to Canada for a few months to work on marketing and distribution of an illustrated book I've been working on this year called Amongst The Mountains, an illustrated guide to Vancouver and surrounds. In June I'm going to Finland to do a month long artist residency in a small town called Joutsa and then traveling around the rest of Scandanavia and over to Europe in July and August!