As a child, I always had an innate love for all things creative, indulging in activities like drawing, colouring books, knitting, and embroidery. My artistic side was constantly yearning for exploration. However, it wasn't until my primary school teacher, Ms. Oliver, discovered and nurtured my artistic talent, that I began to comprehend my true potential.
Today, I proudly introduce myself as Anna Mollekin, an Auckland artist driven by an unwavering passion for creativity. In this blog post, I am excited to share my artistic journey, which spans from my education in graphic design to my current endeavours as a digital artist. Moreover, I aim to delve into the significance of community within my artistic process and touch upon the realisation that I, like many NZ Contemporary Artists, can turn my passion into a lucrative endeavour. Furthermore, I will explore the fascinating question of whether I can successfully strike a balance between expressing my artistic vision authentically and creating marketable artwork.
Exploring the Journey of NZ Contemporary Artists: My Career Story in Graphic Design and Print
After completing my Bachelor of Media Arts at Hamilton Wintec, I fell pregnant with my first child. It was challenging to balance my studies with pregnancy and the pressure of all-nighters. But, I was determined to complete my qualifications as I knew once my child was born, the likelihood of me finishing my study was slim. I successfully finished my Bachelor's with good marks and was admitted to the hospital for a month of complete bedrest due to Toxemia before my daughter, Mia, was born.
Moving to a tiny town called Matamata, I thought my Design Career had hit the breaks. However, six months later, I saw a Graphic Design job advertised for the one and only (at that time) local Graphic Design and Print Shop – Tainui Press. I applied and got the job. Working at Tainui Press, I fell in love with the Ben Day Dot, which is present in some of my work and strongly linked to my passion for commercial printing processes. To further develop my skills, I completed a PrintNZ Apprenticeship in Graphic Communication, which covered colour theory, paper, and various printing techniques. I was thrilled to receive the New Zealand PrintNZ Graphic Communication Apprentice of the Year award.
After Tainui Press, I worked as a graphic designer in the marketing team at Bay of Plenty Regional Council. I then started my own successful graphic design studio but eventually wound it down when I moved to China. Upon my return, I worked as a graphic designer within a marketing team for a company managing multiple shopping centres and property developments. This experience was invaluable in preparing me for my current role at Doodlewear, where I collaborate with other NZ Contemporary Artists as well as traditional, to create unique and expressive art prints you can wear. I worked on campaigns across the retail calendar, managed social media, and curated and created fashion look books, which gave me a strong foundation to build upon.
High School 7th Form Bursary Artwork
Embracing the Path of NZ Contemporary Artists: Tracing My Artistic Journey from High School to Digital Illustration
Looking back at my high school years, I realise how much my artistic style has evolved, influenced by the vibrant world of NZ Contemporary Artists. However, despite my experimentation with different mediums, I would say that my artwork style retains a nostalgic essence reminiscent of my high school years. I've always drawn inspiration from renowned artists like Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, captivated by their bold use of lines and vivid colours to bring depth and dimension to their creations.
While acrylic paint on canvas used to be my primary medium, my journey as a graphic designer paved the way for a newfound comfort with digital tools. I began exploring the realms of illustration in Adobe Illustrator and gradually made a transition to utilising the power of the iPad. Today, the iPad has become my trusted companion and the ultimate instrument for unleashing my artistic expressions, mirroring the innovative approaches embraced by many NZ Contemporary Artists.
Original Kiwi's Lace Ink Pen drawing done in my sketchbook August 2018
As a former graphic designer, I draw inspiration from the meticulous craftsmanship showcased by many NZ Contemporary Artists. The intricate details embedded within my work hold a special place in my creative process. Initially, I began crafting my lace artwork with an ink pen, meticulously sketching each delicate stroke in my scrapbook. However, my pursuit of perfection led me to refine and enhance these designs with a polished touch. To achieve this, I scanned the ink pen drawings and meticulously reimagined them as vector artwork, leveraging the tools offered by Adobe Illustrator. To bring the lace patterns to life, I created unique custom swatch brushes, ensuring every intricacy was captured.
For me, the act of creating art is not just a creative endeavour; it serves as a therapeutic outlet. The labyrinthine details that grace my work resonate with my intensely active mind, encapsulating the intricate thoughts and ideas that inhabit my inner world. Through art, I am able to express myself in a profound and unique manner, transcending the limitations of mere words.
Unlocking the Potential: Discovering the Commercial Success of NZ Contemporary Artists Through My Artistic Journey
It wasn't until my sister, Olivia, asked if she could take some of my artwork into some local retail stores that I realised I could make money from my art. Although I had sold some of my artwork before, I lacked confidence in my work and was hesitant to approach people. My sister got me stocked in a few art shops, and then the penny dropped – maybe I could do this.
Balancing Artistic Authenticity and Commercial Appeal: Navigating the World of NZ Contemporary Artists to Create Marketable Artworks
Creating artwork is my ultimate liberation, transcending limitations and flowing from the depths of my heart and soul. It is within this realm that I can unleash my true essence and express myself authentically. However, as an artist, I also navigate the realm of practicality, striving to create pieces that resonate with both my artistic vision and the demands of the market. This delicate equilibrium has been my quest, and I have discovered that by remaining steadfast to my unique style and staying true to myself, I can produce artworks that are both captivatingly distinct and commercially viable, much like the works of many NZ Contemporary Artists.
Commission artwork for Auckland City Council's Te Manawa Library to celebrate its first birthday to be used across different marketing collateral.
Moreover, I have come to realise the power of collaboration with fellow artists and designers. Through vibrant exchanges of ideas and mutual inspiration, we have the opportunity to expand our creative horizons and venture into uncharted territories. These collaborations not only result in visually stunning pieces but also pave the way for commercial success, as we harness the collective creativity of like-minded individuals.
In 2020, Ninette Kruger's collaboration on "Fantail's Lace" Metal Art transformed my art career, as captured in this picture of Ninette holding our creation.
Unleashing Artistic Vision: A Captivating Journey Inspired by NZ Contemporary Artists
From studying Graphic Design and Print to taking the helm at doodlewear, my artistic journey as a digital artist has been a captivating whirlwind, abundant with both trials and triumphs. Amidst this exhilarating journey, what has continually fuelled my artistic passion and unwavering devotion to all things creative, an abiding love for my creative community, and an insatiable yearning to authentically manifest my artistic voice. By opening up and sharing my personal narrative, I aspire to ignite a spark of inspiration within others, urging them to embark on their own artistic journeys and become catalysts for positive change, just like many influential NZ Contemporary Artists.