With bursts of colour and personality, Annie Everingham’s work offers a fashionable breath of freshness.
Annie Everingham’s charming, colourful eye epitomizes her talents as a painter, illustrator and all around creative maker. Having jumpstarted her career in fashion and textiles, Everingham embraced the visual industry from a unique perspective that garnered her a sartorial approach to art transcending interiors, fashion, branding and stationery. After placing needles and thread to the side, in pursuit of a passion for abstract textures on prints and fabric, Everingham and her entrepreneurial-driven partner combined forces to launch their boutique art and design business — with products stocked in more than 15 interior design and homewares stores across Australia. Through a splendid blend of watercolour, ink, hand sketching, dyeing and digital elements, the shop presents customers with affordable digital wall art, greeting cards and digitally printed cushions. In addition, the abstract painter is always busy creating on various highly-acclaimed projects, such as producing commissioned acrylic and mixed-media works on canvas for private clients and major names across the country. Basically, Annie brightens every room she walks into and/or adorns with her beautiful work! Read our interview with the artist below, and circle back to her Instagram @annieeveringham for more stunning images and to follow her journey!
TO BEGIN, LET’S FIRST COVER THE BASICS! TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND…
I’ve been drawing, painting and creating since I can remember, but having grown up in a country town (Tamworth), the allure of glamorous life in the fashion industry and the city lead me to study a Fashion & Textiles degree at UTS in Sydney after high school. It was a really hard slog and I quickly realized that sewing and patternmaking were not my thing! I was way more passionate about the conceptual stages of design and the printing and illustrative side of fashion, so I wound up majoring in textile design in my graduate year. My plan after uni was to chill in Newcastle for a year, work to save some money as well as enjoy getting stuck into some of my own creative projects on the side — feeling like there was a bit of momentum behind me after my grad project. It was actually my boyfriend’s idea (the entrepreneur in this scenario) to get me set up with an online store, selling illustrations and some of the textile designs I’d created for my collection. I also scoped out some local markets and started selling my work as art prints and created a small range of digitally printed cushions. I started to gain a small following on Instagram, and off the back of that I was able to start wholesaling the range to a few stores. I also started having loads of enquiries for original artwork, so I expanded my practice and started taking commissions for abstract paintings. Within about 18 months of working various jobs and forgoing my weekends, the business had grown so much that I began to consider taking it on full time. It was my boyfriend (again), who in the end convinced me that life was way too short not to take a leap of faith and do it. It was absolutely terrifying, but without a doubt the best decision I’ve ever made. I have the coolest job in the world!
YOU SEEM TO DABBLE IN A MIXTURE OF WORK! WHAT’S A TYPICAL DAY LIKE FOR YOU?
I’ve always moved across mediums and disciplines and get restless if I have to work in one particular style or method for too long. Studying design taught me to be really resourceful and experimental, soak up as much visual information as possible and channel your ideas into different avenues. My brain is so busy that I’m always looking to the next project, so there’s usually half-done bits of pieces scattered all over my studio!
My days and weeks can vary depending on what I have coming up, but typically it starts with coffee, emails and Pinterest browsing.
Mondays I do the mundane tasks like admin and bookkeeping, as well as package up all of my website and wholesale orders. The rest of the week is a little bit all over the place. I need to block out whole days of uninterrupted painting each week to tackle any commission pieces or to chip away at a collection of paintings. On any other day, I’m working on smaller scale mixed-media artworks on paper, which I then digitalize in photoshop — these become my digital design range (which consists of prints and cards). Some days I’m producing artwork for a special project or collaboration, and I also pick up various odd ends of freelance work, like design for stationery suites. I write copious lists and try my best to keep on top of emails — I have to be quite adaptable (tick) and organized (cross) to run a business of this model, but rely on some extra hands from friends and family to pack orders and quell tanty’s when it all goes pear shaped!
WHAT ALBUM ARE YOU CURRENTLY LOVING/PLAYING DURING STUDIO TIME?
I change my playlist at least every half an hour! I think I’ve exhausted just about every Spotify playlist ever made, but on days when I really need to focus and unwind I resort to something like Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver or a yoga compilation. I’m rather partial to a bit of Kanye when I need some motivation and also listen to radio podcasts. Lately I’ve been dreaming of another trip to Europe, so I’ve been listening to the So Frenchy So Chic playlist on Spotify and pretending I’m in a Parisian bistro.
WHEN YOU COLLABORATE WITH A FASHION BRAND, WHAT’S THAT PROCESS LIKE?
I’ve really got so little experience in this area for someone who claims to have a fashion degree, because I jumped straight into art and homewares, but the last collaboration I did was actually with one of the girl’s I went through uni with who asked me to create the artwork for a print story in her resort collection. We communicated over email, and she sent me images of her mood board, fabric swatches and image references and from that I created an illustration in watercolour. From that she adjusted the scale and placement of the artwork and had it digitally printed in repeat onto fabric for the collection. It’s a really fun process and so satisfying to see how your work on paper can translate onto a garment or surface.
WITH A STRONG, UNIQUE VISUAL VOICE, WHAT’S YOUR PROCESS LIKE IN CREATING YOUR PRINTS?
I’m always gathering images, and when I’m not looking at images I’m usually thinking about colours, textures, patterns, and compositions. To create my digital prints, I work on small, quick artworks on paper using a variety of mediums (usually ink, watercolours, acrylic or guache), then I scan or photograph each one and put them into Photoshop. From here, I get to play around with various elements of each artwork, sometimes I’ll combine different artworks together using the layering effects or simply just adjust the colour ways of an artwork as is. It’s a really unstructured, experimental process and I’m always surprised by the end result. If the artwork is going to be printed onto fabric, I will have to put the design into repeat for production and get a little more technical.
WHAT’S YOUR DREAM BRAND COLLABORATION AND WHY?
I’ve always loved fashion label Gorman since my days working in the Young Ladies Fashion department at David Jones while I was at uni (and couldn’t afford a stitch of it). I love that Lisa collaborates with her own in-house textile designers as well as artists to develop print stories each season, rather than outsourcing to larger companies. Their designs are already so genius and quirky, and it just creates something so signature about their pieces. I love that they highlight the marriage between art and fashion and celebrate the ways they intersect.
WHAT’S ONE STRING OF GOOD ADVICE YOU AND CHRIS WOULD GIVE TO AN ARTIST LOOKING TO START UP HIS OR HER OWN BUSINESS?
I get asked this a lot and in all honesty, I’m absolutely still winging it. I’m so incredibly lucky I have Chris to manage the business aspect of this whole shebang because it counts for so much of my success. I think from the outside, what I do looks really easy, but there was so much groundwork and trial and error to get this machine going. Chris is very clever at numbers, so reducing our overheads and increasing profit margins made a huge difference to us early on. All of that really complicated financial stuff aside, my advice would be to be versatile and diversify your practice. I think my business model is unique because I’ve combined so many of my passions into one — art, textiles, interiors, fashion — which gives me freedom to anticipate trends and move between different target markets. Above all, back yourself and if you believe in your work, other people will too. You have to make yourself really vulnerable and put yourself way out there, which is so challenging for me still to this day, but it’s worth it.
WHAT’S YOUR LIFE MOTTO?
Be brave. I have to tell myself that one at least once a week, but it’s something to live by!