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June 18, 2021
Our July 2021 First Friday Art Walk event is not business as usual, as we have an entire family bursting at the seams with artistic ability - thus we are featuring the Brace Family in an Art-A-Palooza!
Read on to learn more about Annie Brace of Corso Graphics, her daughter Eliza and son Cooper - their relationships with art, aspirations, and our beloved state of Alaska.
Growing up in the Midwest gave me roots, studying art and design in Italy gave me wings, getting married and having my children gave me purpose. The integration of these three things set the foundation for the trajectory in my life as an artist.
Blessed with a wildly vivacious gaggle of goofs and a few dogs to boot, it can be difficult to scrape the time for myself to do what I'm so passionate about, but when I do, it feels incredible. I craved a life of unbridled love and creativity, and realized early on that it was up to me to make that happen.
Creating art refills my tank like not much else can. When that art inadvertently fills someone else’s tank, well, that’s the cherry on top. Supporting the arts is supporting a dream and for that I am forever indebted.
Preparation? What’s that? Ha! I’m very much a ‘shoot from the hip’ type a person and am motivated by inspiration and mood. Don’t get me wrong, when I delve into a specific project or commission work there is more of a process, but it really depends on the project in terms of how I prepare.
Ideally, my most enjoyable creative days include an empty house, loud music and full sun (and coffee... always coffee.) Those days are few and far in-between with three kids a couple dogs and a hub, but I make due with what is thrown my way for the most part.
In general, I’d say 85% of my paintings begin with no preconceived notion of where it will go. I pick a few colors out and start throwing paint onto the canvas until something lands. Sometimes I jump into a piece with a concept or idea, but 9 times out of 10 it ends up completely different from where it began. That is the primary reason I don’t take on commission work. I thoroughly enjoy the process of creating and love the flexibility in letting the palette and composition determine its destiny.
I love to dabble in a plethora of different styles. I joke that each style scratches the itch of a different personality I’m harboring. I also believe my background as a professional graphic designer facilitates this malleable artistic flow.
As a designer, I’m expected to massage my inherent style to fit that of the client’s audience and desired messaging. This has allowed my skillset to flourish and grow beyond the parameters of accepting one style as my artistic identifier. I design snowboards for Jones Snowboards and when they put two of my boards up next to one another they couldn’t believe they were done by the same artist. I like that notion. I am many things in this world, and my art is a reflection of that sentiment.
When I have the urge to get down and dirty, my favorite thing to do is slap some acrylic on the canvas and let it FLY! I’m a very unapologetic messy painter, it is quite liberating. To the contrary, I am also drawn to the delicate and precise nature of pen and paper. There is something very therapeutic about the intricacies of lining in each individual mountain face in black and white. Once the line work is done I usually scan it in and apply color and embellishments digitally. The flexibility of this application is fun because it allows you to really work on your own custom color stories without too much commitment. If you don’t like how one color plays on another, it is easy to adjust it unlike acrylic.
From a very young age. I have a very distant relative by the name of Sumner Heman who was an incredible pen/graphite artist from whom I took lessons from when I was very young. In fact, my mom recently found a self portrait from when I was around 6 or so where I professed my desire to be an artist when I grown up.... it was pretty fun to find that.
Anything. Everything. Alaska. Family. Sunshine. Nature. Music... okay, LOUD music.
Simply put..... just getting out of the studio and going anywhere with the family. Whether it’s popping outside early in the morning with a hot cup o’ joe, chipping away at our new property on Montana Creek, towing the pop-up down to my favorite campsites with the family or hiking one of the bazillion trails around Alaska.... if it’s outside, it is a good day.
One thing I am constantly striving for is balance, aren’t we all? Being a one-woman shop and mother of 3, there is just SO MUCH WORK TO DO.... so much, but I know there will ALWAYS be work to do and I just refuse to allow work to overshadow living life. Is it an easy balance? No. Full stop. I am more than happy to work 15 hour days well into the night if it means we can get out of town for the weekend. My goal is to look back at my life in 30 years and see a life well lived with the people I love. That’s the dream.
Don’t undervalue your work. Your time, passion and efforts are worth every cent; don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise (especially yourself!) Pricing is a challenging journey that all artists embark on with apprehension and uncertainty.... trust the process.
Maintain creative integrity. Be inspired, but be sure to pave your own path. Inspiration, not imitation. Lift your fellow artists and remember the old saying “a rising tide lifts all boats”. We are in this together!
I’m a firm believer in the cliche notion that ‘if you do what you love, it never feels like work’. There will be times you take on work that you’d prefer not to (we’ve got bills to pay). Don’t be afraid to say no to proposed jobs or projects. You aren’t obligated to anyone and if you’re not interested in taking on a project, respectfully decline... it’s okay.
When I grow up I want to be an engineer because I like creating and building things.
Although I have many mediums, my personal favorite is graphite and charcoal art. I normally draw faces and people, I like to look through portraits online to be inspired by and challenge myself to draw them.
My favorite thing to see in Alaska is the beautiful scenery and amazing people all across this wildly diverse state! I love meeting new people with different stories and cultures that I can reflect in my artwork.
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