Dive in as we escape with well loved Melbourne Artist, Annie Davidson! Over the years Annie has been transporting us to wonderful imaginary worlds of deep ocean diving and forest parties. Since bringing that magic to Finders Keepers as Feature Artist in 2015, her work has gone from strength to strength. Read on to catch up on Annie’s journey from selling in galleries, illustrating 6 books, working on textiles, travel maps projects and so much more!
Navigating Melbourne Lockdown 2, Annie’s stayed inspired with daily nature walks and has just ordered some holographic roller skates for a fun new lockdown activity.. Watch out Melbourne! Get to know this inspiring artist and tap images to bring something magical to your home!
Can you share your story behind your label, when did you begin and what do you love most about being an artist?
I’ve always been drawing and creating things since I was little and after school I did a Bachelor of Graphic Design and took electives in illustration. My label sort of came about by a happy accident – I started drawing little imaginary scenes in my spare time whilst I was working full time as a designer for homewares company ‘Mozi’. I was enjoying creating something without any brief or particular outcome in mind and I made up a series of illustrations containing these little nomadic characters in imaginary landscapes who I later called the “Travelling Whimsies”. Mozi were happy to print them up big and sell them in store and thus began my prints business. Later on I added new designs, created an online store and was part of design fairs, group shows and markets etc. My favourite thing about being an artist is making images that put a smile on someone’s face, whether it’s a print on their wall, book illustrations, or on something they can wear.
Finders Keepers was lucky enough to have Annie Davidson as Feature Artist 2015! Can you share your experience and how has your work grown since then?
I was very excited when Finders Keepers commissioned me to design their artwork and it was a thrill to see it on such a large scale at the event. It was a great way to have my work exposed to new eyes and certainly grew my customer base a lot – also lovely to have the chance to see how people responded to it in person. Since then I have begun selling through Linton & Kay Galleries in Perth, exhibited in group shows and continue to work as a freelancer for international Illustration agency ‘Illustration X’. I have illustrated 6 books and am currently working on 2 new ones. Other projects include textiles, travel maps, packaging, magazine illustrations, skate decks, shop windows and album artwork. I’ve worked for clients such as Lonely Planet, Converse, Adairs, Jetstar and Philadelphia to name a few, as well as Chanel 9’s program ‘Buying Blind’ for whom I created custom wallpaper.
What impact has 2020 had on your business and how have you changed direction?
I’ve been very lucky in that my freelance work has been steady. I’ve had a few large book projects to illustrate which has kept me busy. I’ve taken the chance to update my website’s image gallery and add some new designs to the store – I sell through a gallery in Perth so I’ve been working on some prints that contain some of W.A’s many species of beautiful wildflowers. As I’m used to working from home things haven’t changed too much in terms of my work day. I think this year has made me more careful with what projects I chose to take on as I want to make sure I’m doing work I enjoy given that we are in stage 4 restrictions in Victoria currently and I don’t want to add extra stress to this time.
What influences your work and what sparks your creativity?
Getting out in nature, travelling to new places and doing new things helps to keep my mind refreshed. Obviously those things have been limited this year but I’m making sure I go for lots of walks and bike rides along the river near my house, as well as playing tennis and I’ve just ordered some holographic roller skates for a fun new lockdown activity! I’m also inspired by my mum who is an amazing still life artist, as well as lots of other artists such as the installations of Cai Guo Qing or Andy Goldsworthy, digital works of David Hockney, Japanese prints by Hokusai & many more. I love using Pinterest to collect inspiration. Going to exhibitions is obviously also great and I’m starting to miss that now.
What are you listening to, reading, watching?
I love listening to podcasts while I work and some of my favourites are ‘Desert Island Discs’, ‘Conversations – ABC Radio’, and ’Stuff you should know’. I also have lots of Spotify playlists which vary a lot but some favourites are Andrew Bird, 2Cellos, Feist, Van Morrison, Sting and St Germain to name a few. I’ve watched a few great shows during lockdown, again very varied; a couple of favourites are ’The Man in the high castle’ which I highly recommend, and ‘The Durrells’ which is set on beautiful Corfu – an island off Greece and is a nice visual escape until we’re allowed to travel again! I just finished a book called ’Spy’ about an MI5 agent, set during WW2 which was quite entertaining and the kind of genre I usually go for.
Sing out to a fellow maker and tell us what it is about their work that speaks to you?
I love the sculptural creations and floral installations that Wona Bae and Charlie Lawler from LooseLeaf studio make. I’m very inspired by nature – both untamed, wild landscapes and curated gardens, and always amazed by the number of unique variations in plant life – shapes, colours, patterns etc. Looseleaf makes pieces that are beautiful and calming, simple but epic.