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.”