Annie Everingham is an Australian visual artist and creative. Her intuitive practice combines a love of textile design, fashion, flowers, interiors and art to encapsulate the elements of beauty found in everyday life.
A keen illustrator and painter since childhood, Annie was formally trained in fashion and textile design and had no plans to pursue her art practice professionally. However throughout her studies she craved the tactile nature of art as opposed to the technical elements of fashion design, and began developing her practice through the exploration of her now signature feminine textures, brushstrokes and compositions.
Completely self-taught, she launched her studio based business in 2014 from the coastal town of Newcastle, NSW where she is still based today.
I adored Annie’s textural style and colour palette and approached her to collaborate on our signature florals for launch. Annie was a dream to work with, ultimately creating four designs for Land. Florence is a gorgeous floral print that seamlessly marries tradition and modernity whilst remaining fresh and chic. I also commissioned Annie to create hydrangeas, inspired by the memory of my Grandmother’s garden and named Delilah. Two abstract pieces Midsummer and Citrus perfectly round out the collection.
Below I chat with Annie about her creative process, the intersection of home and work, matrescence and how she is considering sustainability in her art practice.
Firstly, how would you describe your artwork?
Feminine, nostalgic, ethereal.
Have you always been an artist? Did you always want to be an artist?
I’ve always painted, sketched and made things since I was a child and was always really drawn to doing something creative or related to art growing up. I decided to study fashion and textile design at university, because it seemed like a good mix of all my favourite things and creative interests. I never quite mastered the technical side of fashion design - and found that getting tactile with art and illustration was really what I loved most about the design process. I did internships and toyed with the idea of heading into the print design for the fashion industry, but still found the technical component really frustrating. I have always really wanted to work for myself as well, so I just started putting my work online and selling it at markets, working odd jobs by day, and soon found a really cosy little corner of the creative industry that suited me perfectly. Primarily I sell my work in the interior design space, there is a really nice crossover between design and art happening in the particular scene I work in, which is filled with women run, small creative businesses across the art, design, interiors and homewares industry.
Was there a defining moment that inspired you to follow your passion and start your own business?
It was really just a push from my husband to start selling artworks and prints I’d created at uni. I’d just finished university and moved to be with him in Newcastle while I worked out what to do next, with a fashion degree and a pit in my stomach at the thought of looking for work in an industry that is quite frankly pretty terrifying. The next couple of years were hard, but before I knew it, I was making an income from selling my work and it wasn’t sustainable (or fair to my employers) for me to stay in my desk job and run my business at the same time, so I took a leap of faith and quit.
Where do you seek inspiration? What is inspiring you right now?
Books, nature, photographs, fashion, interiors and just the visual world in general. My work is really just an extension of my love for capturing and creating beautiful things, moments and feelings. It’s a combination of abstract and still life work that very unapologetically celebrates all things decorative. I don’t take myself or my art too seriously, rather just paint things I like to look at, and hope someone else likes it, too!
Could you talk us through your creative process?
Honestly my style is always evolving and I get very bored with my own work often and want to move onto something new. I like to ‘tinker’ and explore my ideas freely which isn’t always achievable when you’re creating in a commercial industry. Being from a design and textiles background, I’m really drawn to pattern and draw lots of inspiration from the application of art on different surfaces, and textures or patterns in nature. I’m also just really obsessed with colour, and exploring how colours sit together in an image. I take a lot of photos and consume a lot of visual media on a daily basis, and this usually just naturally feeds into whatever I happen to be painting or creating at the time. I try not to overthink my practice, and just lay down patterns, colours and shapes that feel joyful and are interesting to look at.
Running your own business is no joke. What have you found most challenging about creating your own business as an artist?
I think most creatives would agree that imposter syndrome is our nemesis, and the constant drive to better your work is a blessing and a curse at times.
What advice would you give anyone who is inspired by you to enter a similar line of work?
Collaborate and engage with other creatives - having a support network of other women in business can be really helpful and motivating when you’re feeling unmotivated or facing challenges in business. Learn to say ‘no’ to opportunities or projects that don’t add value to your business or light you up. Celebrate small milestones and give yourself some credit for being able to monetise your passion - it’s hard work, and takes a lot of vulnerability and energy. Own your feminine super power of being both assertive and kind - being nice to people and also knowing your worth are both important.
Many of us are now working from home and struggling with productivity. How do you stay productive and motivated working at home?
I’ve always struggled with this as a creative, and the nature of my work is often really sporadic or lots of projects on the go at once, which makes it hard to juggle. Now that I’m a mum, it’s even harder to get it right and I’m
honestly chasing my tail a bit, and have missed going into my studio every day, but my little home studio set up since having Augie and it’s been really nice to tap into some creative time on a whim or to squeeze it in here and there.
MY WORK IS REALLY JUST AN EXTENSION OF MY LOVE FOR CAPTURING BEAUTIFUL THINGS, MOMENTS AND FEELINGS.
Land. is all about focusing on and supporting women. Women juggle so many roles and wear so many hats and we want to highlight this fact, celebrate it and respect it. Can you please tell us about you, the different roles you play and any secrets you have discovered surviving as both a mother and business owner?
I’ve just come off the back of a 12 month long hiatus since having my first baby, so I feel like the working mum thing is all very new territory for me! I’m a mother, wife and artist and like most working mums, feel like I’m not doing a terribly good job in any of my roles a lot of the time. Augie has just started daycare this year and goes 3 days a week, so they’re my work days. It’s a really lovely balance, and I love my weekdays with him, but it’s an adjustment. I’ve had to reframe what a working week looks like and manage my time differently. I’m definitely more conscious of where I put my energy now. As a notorious over-committer it’s more crucial now to be selective with my projects and I’m working on saying no to things this year. As a business owner, you want to say yes to every opportunity that comes your way and live in perpetual fear that the work will ‘dry up’. Being a mum has meant I’ve lost some of that ‘hustle’ mentality and just have to trust that I’m established enough, that the work will come. All that aside, I’m so incredibly lucky to be self employed and in a really privileged position - I can slot my work in around our family and have a lot of flexibility, which is a godsend. I put a lot of work into my studies and career all through my 20’s and burnt myself out a few times over the years. Now in my 30’s, I feel like I’ve got my ducks in a row somewhat and can breathe a little. We’re still very much in the thick of it with regards to Augie’s sleep (he doesn’t, really), and my husband juggles a couple of businesses as well as helping with mine, but we’re plodding along with lots of support from our families and making it all work. Chris is amazing and wonderful and keeps the wheels of our daily lives in motion in every way possible.
Often when one becomes a mother, they reassess who they are and what they want in life to be happy. Did you experience this identity shift and if so, what did you learn about yourself?
Absolutely, matrescence is such a huge shift. Somehow we have to try and stretch and mould fragments of our old lives and selves around this whole new world that takes up so much space. On a practical level, I try not to put too much pressure on myself and have simplified and scaled down my business model, so now it’s less about churning work out, with more of a focus on creating small, intentional collections and pursuing things that really light me up, rather than trying to do it all 100 miles a minute. The biggest lesson motherhood has dished out to me is to surrender. Letting go of things I can’t control has been a huge lesson for me.
Now to home, what does home mean to you?
I’m a true Cancerian in every sense, home is my sanctuary! Surrounding myself with beautiful things and enjoying life’s simple pleasures totally fills up my cup. I’m a bit of an introvert at heart and need time to recharge.
How would you describe the style of your home?
Our home is a Spanish Mission style bungalow with beautiful natural light, arch details and decorative ceilings. We completed a pretty major renovation here in 2020 and it’s just heaven to me. I would say it’s a clash of Bali villa meets Mediterranean meets 1930’s suburban Australia - with a splash of colour, lots of pattern and collected pieces. We kept the selections quite neutral with lots of whites, stones and cream, and my rotating collection of art, decor, rugs and cushions are soft, eclectic and colourful. The backyard is a tropical oasis and feels very much like our own private little retreat - we love it and spend so much time in our outdoor entertainment area, which is really just an extension of our kitchen.
Please name some interior designers that you love?
Tamsin Johnson, Lucy Fenton, Lucy Montgomery and Prudence Caroline are just some of my faves!
Are you currently swooning over any home décor or furniture pieces for your home?
I am obsessed with the Balineum x Wayne Pate tile collaboration, and have been coveting some Sarah Ellison pieces for some time now. Sadly, I don’t think we’ll be buying a new lounge anytime soon with a toddler!
What drew you to collaborate with Land.?
I have a background in textiles (which I dabbled in at university) so I have a perpetual itch to scratch when it comes to seeing my artwork translated onto fabric. I’m obsessed with everything interiors and I also appreciated how lovely Elly is to work with, how gracious she was in letting me take a million years to get our project off the ground while I juggled my first pregnancy and a pandemic and then the first year of motherhood! It’s always nice to collaborate with other creatives but in particular, with brands who genuinely want to create something that speaks to my work and are trusting of the creative process.
Being an eco-conscious furniture brand is one of the core values of Land. Is sustainability important to you? How do you incorporate sustainable practices into your business?
It’s been really interesting to see the movement around sustainability gain so much more momentum, particularly in the past 5 years or so. I like to think every community minded person, in business or not, has in some ways stepped up in being more conscious of the ways we consume, but we could all do more. On a personal level the conversation has forced me to take a hard look at some uncomfortable truths around the way I consume fashion, for example, but I’m more consciously choosing where to buy my clothes, supporting smaller labels who ethically produce their pieces, and buy things second hand whenever I can. In terms of my business, I completely changed my business model a few years ago after I started to feel sick about the amount of packaging, paper, ink and plastic I was using in producing my own art prints and greeting cards. I reduced the range to a selection of limited edition tubed prints, and lost quite a large portion of my wholesale market in the process. And in downscaling my business model again since returning from mat leave, I’ve reduced my print range again, with the intention of solely focusing on selling original paintings. It’s essentially streamlined by business and reduced my day to day workload, gives me more time to actually create, and has significantly reduced my impact.
And finally, what is one thing that might surprise us about you?
I met my husband when we were both 14, working at McDonald’s, haha! He was just as efficient and bossy then as he is now!