Artist Series Vol 1: Annabelle Warren

We are happy to announce artist series Vol 1 IGTV interview was an incredible success.  Annabelle brought her beautiful personality along with a tremendous amount of insight to our listeners with regard to her own mindset and approach to starting and completing her art. We were lucky to sit down with her this past Saturday and ask her some questions. We got to learn about her process, inspirations, and mediums through a candid conversation on Instagram Live. You can see the full interview on our IGTV @safeport_  . Below is a recap of a few questions and answers from the interview.

To check out and purchase the Safeport x Annabelle Warren Collab please visit: WWW.SAFEPORTCLOTHING.COM

Q: How do you feel about having your artwork in the cannabis space?

AW: Very comfortable!  I feel I am my most authentic self when I am smoking and drawing at the same time.  I feel that cannabis helps me connect to my work in a more thoughtful and emotional way.


Q: Why did you feel comfortable doing a collaboration with us here at Safeport?

AW: Aside from Safeport being a really great local company with loads of great products, I felt more comfortable having my work attached to cannabis because I have transitioned into a full-time artist and now feel much more in control of my personal image and how I want to be perceived.  In the past, I was always concerned about how a current or potential employer might judge my online presence.  Now, I am able to re-prioritize—it is important to me to present myself and my work in an honest and authentic way. Cannabis is a part of my life and work! I also feel comfortable working with you guys because you reached out to me as a local artist.  I immediately felt noticed and supported. I was flattered that you would put your trust in my creativity!

Q: Do you have a routine or regular process when you sit down to make a piece?

AW: If I’m working at night, I’ll smoke prior to working on a piece (I try not to during the day, just in case I have to drive somewhere).  I’m also BIG on podcasts—watching and or listening to a really enthralling podcast helps me settle into a piece for several uninterrupted hours.


Q: When did you feel that you wanted to pursue art so seriously that you knew it had to be something beyond just a hobby for you?

AW: Apparently, I’ve known since I was a small child! I have a notebook that I wrote in as a four or five year old that says, “My name is Annabelle.  When I grow up, I will be an artist.” I had to laugh when I read that, because I spent the most transformative period of my young adulthood trying to be something else. I really gave up art because the world had me convinced it wasn’t lucrative. I somehow thought I could never have a career in it. As I got older, and began practicing more and more frequently and for longer periods of time, I found it was the only thing I wanted to ever do. I think once you find something that you really creatively click with, it’s hard not to fall into obsession. Drawing is the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about when I fall asleep. I will do it until my hands give out. I think that’s when I really knew that art stopped being a hobby and became a discipline.


Q: Your stippling style seems to be extremely time consuming; When did you start creating in this incredible stippling style of art?

AW: I’ve always been more of a draw-er than a painter or anything else. I think it’s the control freak in me! I’m very detail-oriented, and with stippling you can capture the finest details. It certainly is very time-consuming, but ultimately looks impressive because it’s so true to life.


Q: Does your process differ when you are going to tattoo someone?

AW: The biggest difference between drawing in this style and tattooing really is the time constraint. With stippling, I can spend days and days on a single project. When I’m drawing out a tattoo, I often have the time pressure of seeing the client the next day, or even within the hour. Then of course is the actual process of tattooing, which is far more difficult than working on paper!  There are a lot of elements to tattooing that you don’t have to consider when drawing—for example having to stretch the skin, or work on an uneven surface. There is also the social aspect—tattooing is very intimate, so a lot of times I’m talking to my client the entire time. Paper does not talk and is also perfectly flat.


Q: You are obviously committed to art as a lifestyle but also a livelihood, do you have any insight or advice in general for other artists out there who want to make art their primary source of income?

AW: I can’t really give specific advice, because everyone has their own priorities within art and their own different styles. I can, however, say what worked for me. About two years ago, I really got serious about art.  I just started practicing every day, for as long as time and patience would allow. I practiced everything I could, focusing on portraits and figures.  Sometimes the people close to me wouldn’t understand when I would decline to hang out because “I have to draw”. Sometimes I would even feel all of this hard work and dedication was aimless—I didn’t know if it would ever pay off or have the impact I wanted.  Eventually, when the tattooing opportunity came around, I found that all of that work DID serve me. All of that work, it was finally worth it!  By that point, the self-discipline had become a habit which helped me to really focus and grind during my apprenticeship.


Q: Do you ever indulge in cannabis and does it aid in the creative process?

AW: I don’t indulge before I’ve carved out an idea of what I’m going to draw.  I can’t say that cannabis allows me to have ideas I wouldn’t otherwise have.  You shouldn’t feel like you have to rely on any substance to find your creative spark—all of that power is within you! I am inspired by the world around me.  Historical events, old works of art, poetry, literature, and nature are all more powerful sources of inspiration than simply allowing cannabis to guide me.  It does aid me in loosening up and feeling more in touch with myself once I have already started drawing.  It also aids with the frustration I sometimes experience when working on a particularly difficult piece!


Q: What are your favorite kind of cannabis products?

AW: I’ve been smoking flower a lot more lately. As much as I LOVE the convenience of the vapes, I try to smoke “acoustic weed” when I can, just because it feels more natural and doesn’t ever give me migraines.


Q: There are always new products in the cannabis  industry; can you think of a product that doesn’t exist but should?

AW: I can’t think of my own, but I do have a friend who invented something that packs the perfect, spherical, bowl-sized weed with a little wick at the top. I thought that was hilarious and really cool.


Q: I am sure the quarantine has been extremely difficult for you since no tattoos can be performed. How have you been coping with the craziness of the quarantine?

AW: I’ve actually been doing really well! I’ve been trying all kinds of different things—I’ve done a mural, I’ve started using Procreate to do design work, I’ve drawn on shirts and started more large-scale projects.  I’ve also been drawing tons of flash for when I am able to get back to tattooing.  It’s overall been a highly productive quarantine! I’m very comfortable in solitude, art is inherently lonely work.


Q: What about tattooing? How do you think this will change the game?

AW: Frankly, people are dying to get tattooed right now. I think during a traumatic event like this, combined with social isolation makes people want to change their appearance in some way. A lot of people are giving themselves drastically different haircuts, or want to get blasted with tattoos! So I can’t see tattooing going away any time soon. If anything, we will just have to take more severe safety precautions than we already do such as both client and artist wearing a mask and only having a couple people in the shop at a time.


Q: Are there any specifics you can share with us regarding the quarantine and its effects on your art?

AW: It’s definitely made me more introspective. I also think people are really paying attention to art and media right now, so having that extra boost of encouragement has helped a lot. Having your work be appreciated is like a shot of dopamine to the brain.  It helps you grow!


Q: Do you find yourself more, or less productive during this time?

AW: I spend about the same amount of hours on art during the day, but it has made me branch out a lot more.  I’ll allow myself to go out into nature, spend time with my boyfriend and family, and do errands.  Outside of that, I’m working on a current project or starting a new one. I’m trying to learn a new artistic skill. Sometimes I’ll catch myself distracted by the internet or TV, and I just have to redirect and remind myself that art is much more productive and rewarding!

Q: What is the inspiration behind the Safeport designs?

AW: The prompt was sort of just to draw something trippy and interesting to look at. I really wanted to lean towards the fine art aspect of design, so the first design I did was Michaelangelo’s Statue of David.  I found a 360 view of the statue online, so I used those references and made it kind of look like the head is twisting around.  For the Medusa, I used a Lauren Bacall-type face for reference because she has those dagger eyes. The final design I did was from Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. I made it kind of creepy by drawing her eyes sunken back and popping out of her hair.

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