Annie Owens, Eclectix Interview 18

annie owens mug eclectix interview


Artist Annie Owens ( above with “Donut” ) grew up and currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She spent a fair amount of her childhood, watching classic horror movies with her musician brother. After receiving a degree in film and raising a daughter; she co-founded Hi-Fructose with her partner Attaboy, a superb artist as well. Both have shown and visited with Eclectix, in our brick and mortar days – their warm enthusiasm and support for newbrow art is always a welcome spark of hope.

 Annie paints and draws girls, young awkward women and crooked little houses in an achingly beautiful way. The blackest black of her ink work contrast nicely with a muted, pastel color palette.   Hints of Asian watercolor masters, adept in fine, graceful and precise brushstrokes, flow into clouds of watery backgrounds. Moody and troubled dark misfits express disillusion, angst and apathy. And rubbery limbed, cartoon influenced figures pose in daily snapshots of childhood adventures.



annie owens - eclectix interview



My favorite art memory from my childhood is …

Drawing mushrooms in my grandparents living room.



What prompted the mushrooms? 

Oh I don’t know, I was 4. I must’ve seen them in a coloring book or something. They were a fun easy shape to play with.



annie owens - eclectix interview



My interest in art/painting started … 

When I was 5. I don’t know why. I think people have natural inclinations and drawing was mine just as music is to my brother. I’d paint and draw even I didn’t ever have a reason to show what I’ve done. It’s built in and I think it’s that way for a vast majority of artists out there. You can tell it’s just in their nature. That’s not to say natural inclination equals natural ability. Talent is something that is achieved by commitment.



annie owens - eclectix interview



 I am often inspired and motivated by …

 My fiancé – no kidding. Also, I am often inspired by the atmosphere that comes out of old photographs of people and places. It’s the way light falls that really gets me. I wish I could recreate the mood of an old photograph without necessarily wanting to recreate the photograph itself. Does that make sense? Sure does…



If I could spend the day with any artist (dead or alive) it would be … 

Salvador Dali

And we would...

Go to lots and lots of parties! No, I’d spend the day with Sally Mann (below) the photographer. Check out her work, it’s truly inspired stuff. I could do a whole essay on her alone. She always has something to say about her work and when she is criticized she always has an honest answer. I really admire her and her work for so many reasons. She edits her pictures to weed out any potential bullshit cutting a body of work down to a pretty specific point. I aspire to that but that’s a long way for me!



annie owens - eclectix interview



The tip or art technique (a specific tidbit of craft, advice or mechanical expertise) that has helped me the most is …. 

Pre soak my paper in the bathtub and lay flat even if it is already pre-sized. Dramatically reduces curling. Ink with watercolors instead of water gets a really nice line. I learned that from KRK Ryden. I hope he doesn’t mind me outting that secret!



annie owens - eclectix interview



If I could own one piece of art, out of the world’s collections, it would be … 

Well… I think I already own it. It’s a felted black light poster of this crazy treehouse that was printed in the 70s, early 80s. (below) As a kid I couldn’t afford it, I’d just stand in Spencer’s Gifts and stare at it till the store clerk made me and my brother leave. I just won a slightly beat up original on Ebay for $20 (!) The seller obviously didn’t know what he had. It was listed with “old and funky” as a description. Of course there are repros out there and recently someone even repainted an oil rendition. You can get those prints easily but originals are really rare and go for top dollar nowadays. I know I’m geeking out right now. Anyway, I love this thing.  



annie owens - eclectix interview



My favorite piece of my own art is …

Three Evil Kings


It’s an old one, a direction I left behind but it reminds me of a time when things weren’t so complicated. I like the innocent but mysterious attitude and simplicity of it.



My ultimate project or fantasy is … 

To buy an Airstream and drive across the U.S., with my darling, my dog, some cameras, some paper and some paint. The idea would be to made a pictorial travelogue and then make some paintings based on what we see.  My daughter would “run the store” while we were gone. We’d stop in the desserts and swamps on the route, hitting every treehouse along the way. {I’m crazy for tree houses.} During our drive, I would find the ultimate cheap fixer-upper cabin somewhere in Appalachia or West Virginia, buy it, turn the interior into a rad mid century dream a la Steve McQueen, while the outside would stay wild except for a little vegetable garden. It would be our get away home.



annie owens - eclectix interview



The last song I chose to listen to was …

“New Day on an Old Lake” by Michael Giacchino from the “Let Me In” soundtrack. Heartbreaking.



The last book I couldn’t put down was …

Probably another horror anthology. A beat up little paperback called “American Supernatural Tales” one of a zillion horror anthologies in my collection. This ones got authors like Algernon Blackwood, Robert Bloch, August Derleth, Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, Hawthorne…



I can’t live without …

Well figuratively (not realistically), I can’t live without the occasional Napoleon with all real ingredients. It’s my favorite pastry of all time. Realistically, I’d have a hard time imagining life without my sight or without Daniel.



annie owens - eclectix interview



 It’s not hip, but I really love …

“Rush” {the band}



My favorite motto (or quote)  is…

An old friend just recently reminded me of this by Geisel.

”Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”



annie owens - eclectix interview



 As co-owner of Hi-Fructose, how do you and Attaboy work out curatorial disagreements?

We put up our dukes! Haha, we have meetings and debates. When it comes to content in the magazine, we both have such strong opinions but for the most part we’re almost always on the same page in terms of who, what and why. It’s eerie how often we’ll be thinking the same thing. However, on occasion one or both of us will bring something to the table that garners resistance from the other, that’s when we take up position for a duel to the death! It’s a compromise sometimes which is beneficial for the magazine in terms of variety in the end.



annie owens - eclectix interview



People often have problems working with their mates, how do you handle it? Any tips or suggestions?

We were and are still, very solitary people by nature when it comes to personal projects. Personal relationships being kept to a very small handful of people. When we first started HF, our relationship was still pretty new – 2 years just about. And working at an adult trusting relationship brought as much challenge to us as it does for any couple generally speaking. Add to that a business partnership for our personality types and you get a very steep learning curve! We are rock solid and I’m really proud of us. But the basis for this business/love thing isn’t any different from any other marriage – love, respect, friendship.



Link: to Annie’s Website



annie owens - eclectix interview




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(This entry was  originally posted on 3/9/11 )

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