First Im­pres­sions

ImagineFX - - Contents - Annie Stegg

Annie Stegg ex­plores hid­den worlds.

It’s the tiny worlds of un­seen dra­mas that ap­peals to this fan­tasy artist…

Where did you grow up and how has this in­flu­enced your art?

I grew up in north­ern Ge­or­gia, on a prop­erty that backed on to a beau­ti­ful stream and for­est. Many of my for­ma­tive mem­o­ries were cre­ated in those woods. An en­tire world could ex­ist un­der a rock. In my work I at­tempt to cap­ture mo­ments like those. The tiny hid­den worlds that ex­ist in our own.

You’re a child, you see a paint­ing that changes ev­ery­thing… where are you and what are you look­ing at?

Grow­ing up, my mother kept our small li­brary stocked with chil­dren’s books. One of my favourites was Mau­rice Sen­dak’s Out­side Over There. The art is so mag­i­cal.

There’s one paint­ing in par­tic­u­lar, where a young girl has just dis­cov­ered that her baby sis­ter has been stolen by gob­lins, and re­placed with a dop­pel­gänger made of ice. The at­mos­phere of the il­lus­tra­tion is so dif­fer­ent from the pre­vi­ous spread. Na­ture seems to have gone wild, with sun­flow­ers burst­ing from the win­dows while a storm rages over the sea out­side. It’s such a won­der­ful and in­ter­est­ing nar­ra­tive.

What was your first paid com­mis­sion?

When I was in high school, I liked to sculpt small fig­urines of crea­tures in clay. I hadn’t in­tended to sell them, but I started re­ceiv­ing re­quests from my class­mates. One of my teach­ers asked me to cre­ate a cus­tom chess­board. I was amazed that some­one would want to pay me for some­thing I loved do­ing for fun.

What’s the last piece you fin­ished, and how do the two dif­fer?

I’m work­ing on a col­lec­tion of paint­ings for my solo show at Haven Gallery in June, en­ti­tled Hal­cyon Gar­den. It’s go­ing to be an ex­plo­ration of the small, hid­den worlds that ex­ist in our own back­yards and the drama that un­folds with their un­seen in­hab­i­tants. Al­though the medium and sub­ject mat­ter are dif­fer­ent from what I was cre­at­ing in my younger years, the un­der­ly­ing mes­sage is the same.

What char­ac­ter that you’ve painted do you most iden­tify with?

I love ex­plor­ing beauty in the un­ex­pected. When I was younger, I had a menagerie of un­con­ven­tional pets. Toads, lizards and sala­man­ders filled the many ter­rar­i­ums in my room. One of my favourites was a small ax­olotl. I painted him in my Li­laia the Na­iad paint­ing, so I’d have to say that’s the im­age I most iden­tify with.

Where do you cre­ate your art?

A few years ago I built a small stu­dio on the back of my house. It was nice to cre­ate a space with spe­cific re­quire­ments for my paint­ing. It has a tile floor for easy clean­ing.

Nat­u­ral light and good ven­ti­la­tion are im­por­tant to me, so the new stu­dio has win­dows from floor to ceil­ing. It’s filled with plants that I’ve been col­lect­ing over the years. I love hav­ing my own lit­tle sanc­tu­ary where I can feel a world away.

What ad­vice would you give to your younger self ?

I wish I had the re­sources ac­ces­si­ble to me when I was very young, that chil­dren are grow­ing up with now. The in­credi­ble amount of tu­to­ri­als avail­able online and mag­a­zines like Imag­ineFX would have been so help­ful. I think I would tell my younger self to visit li­braries and mu­se­ums more of­ten, and to look at as much art as pos­si­ble.

Is making a liv­ing as an artist dif­fer­ent to how you thought it would be, and why?

I worked in a gallery while go­ing to school. Dur­ing my time there, I painted the types of things that I thought would sell well in a gallery. I sold mainly land­scapes and com­mis­sioned por­traits.

I was grate­ful to be making a liv­ing through my art re­gard­less of the sub­ject mat­ter, but I never dreamed that I’d be able to even­tu­ally sup­port my­self work­ing on the types of sub­jects close to my heart. I think that’s been the big­gest sur­prise to me.

I love hav­ing my own lit­tle sanc­tu­ary where I can feel a world away

Annie is in­spired by na­ture, folk­lore and myths. The 18th cen­tury Ro­coco pain­ters have in­flu­enced on her own method. You can see her art at www.an­ni­estegg.com.

Moon­child “This is Karki­nos, one of the 12 groups of star con­stel­la­tions from Greek mythol­ogy.” Se­crets Kept “The first im­age for my Hal­cyon Gar­den se­ries, show­cas­ing se­crets wait­ing to be dis­cov­ered.”

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