I knew from an early age that I wanted to be an artist of some kind. When I was asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, I said that I wanted to paint pictures, take photos, and write stories. So that's what I did. I got myself a diploma in Fine Art and a degree in Illustration. Before I started university, I was already selling original paintings on canvas via the internet. I knew that I lacked business skills, so I packed myself off to university to learn about the profession of illustration. In my first year of university, I illustrated a book cover for the author Vikki Bramshaw, and had the image published by O Books on the 30th October 2009. In my second year of university, I worked with artist duo Zoe Blood and Andrea Sinclair. I helped them create a live art experience called The Paper Eaters Do Bargate, from November 2010 to February 2011, at the Bargate Centre in Southampton.
“Annika made a tremendous contribution to our residency, ‘The Paper Eaters Do Bargate’, and her work came on in leaps and bounds during the two month period of the project. Annika’s witty, dark, Japanese-inspired comic story about a girl who steals tampons is published in issue 5 of The Paper Eaters magazine; and she also had work published in issue 4. Annika is enthusiastic and helpful, Andrea Blood and I were glad to have her working live alongside us in our HQ. I look forward to the continued development of her work.” Zoe Sinclair, Artist.
In my final year of university, I took part in the Pride in Bournemouth event, which raised money for Dorset based charity Julia's House, and the internationally renowned Born Free Foundation. Local businesses were looking for artists to decorate life-size fibre glass lion sculptures, which were to be exhibited publically in Bournemouth. I was selected by Bournemouth Pavilion to design and decorate a lion which represented the rich history of Bournemouth's seaside entertainments. My design was particularly inspired by the red a gold interior decoration of the Pavilion, and the ballroom dancing and pantomimes which the venue hosts. I used paints and fabrics to decorate my "Red Curtain" lion, which was exhibited within the Pavilion during the summer of 2011. My lion was eventually sold in auction at just under £1000.
As well as decorating a lion that year I was also asked to paint a mural. Southbourne Business Association wanted something which reflected the history of the area, so I painted a timeline, depicting the prehistoric inhabitants of the area, to people of the present era. In particular, I was asked to highligh the aviation history of the area, as Charles Rolls pioneered his Wright Flyer plane over the fields of Southbourne. This town is also famed for its yearly Air Festival, during which the RAF Red Arrows put on a display, viewed by hundreds of thousands from the beach and cliff tops. Sadly that year, one of the pilots died in an accident, and his plane is the last one painted in my timeline. The mural transformed a derelict shop front into a sunny seaside, with blue skies, green cliffs, golden beach and rolling waves.
In 2012, my mural fun inspired me to take on another big project. I decorated a white transit van for my brother with colourful fantasy designs. This was my first proper go at spray painting, and I learnt a lot through trial and error. I worked on the van during my spare time, taking on any fun ideas my brother had for it. We decided to name the van Tombulance, as my brother's name is Tom and the van was formerly an animal ambulance. More info about the Tombulance can be found at www.facebook.com/Tombulance
In 2013 I was proud to exhibit my work at the first ever New Forest Fairy Festival alongside artists such as Josephine Wall and Chris Down. My fairy fun display included original paintings, hand made jewellery, and custom made signs. Fairies young and old enjoyed seeing their requests come to life before their very eyes. This is what inspired me to open up an Etsy shop, where I continue to sell my hand crafted treasures. I create a lot of custom pieces for people, and have been exploring the art of pyrography since 2014.
Hey, thanks for joining me here! As you can see, there's a bunch of links above which will take you to all sorts of interesting places, but first, let me introduce myself. My name is Annika and I'm currently 30 years old. I live in Bournemouth, which is a lovely little seaside town in Dorset England. I love living by the sea, and have lived here most my life. When I was a kid, I lived in Sweden for a little while, as that's where my mum is from. Growing up with two languages, I came to really appreciate visual communication. I was always drawing, painting, and taking photos. I grew up to become somewhat of a Bohemian, a creative kind of person whose great imagination leads them to forego the conventional, and live life wild and free.
"To take the world as one finds it, the bad with the good, making the best of the present moment—to laugh at Fortune alike whether she be generous or unkind—to spend freely when one has money, and to hope gaily when one has none—to fleet the time carelessly, living for love and art—this is the temper and spirit of the modern Bohemian in his outward and visible aspect." Gelett Burgess, 1902.