10 Questions with Annienaran
Love the playful colorful illustrations from Toronto-based fashion artist Annie Naranian. She makes live sketches for clients as Chanel and Reebok and she got the attention of THE fashion designer Marc Jacobs himself on her social media…
1. Hi Annie great to have you here! Could you tell us something about yourself & your background?
Hi, my name is Annie Naranian (annienaran), and I am an artist based in Toronto, Canada. I have always been a creative soul, and much of my inspiration is drawn from all things fashion. When I am not in the studio, you can find me getting lost in vintage clothing stores. My interest in vintage fashion can be seen reflected in my art, because I think much of contemporary fashion is indebted to what has come before it. And it is that very connection my art seeks to explore: the ways in which the methods of contemporary fashion are related to or are different from the techniques of the past.
2 How did you get started as an illustrator & did you go to art school?
My interest in fashion illustration was motivated by an encounter that I had with an illustrator that I admired. The artist was illustrating at a retail store, and when I walked up to her, she was nice enough to illustrate me! I was so excited, that to this day, I vividly remember turning to my friend and telling her: “this is exactly what I see myself doing”. Flash-forward to two years later, I got my first major gig with Chanel!
No, I did not go to art school per say, but I did pursue a diploma in Graphic Design. Even though I did not pursue a graphic design career or study art explicitly, my graphic design background continues to play a large role in the creation of my artwork because the software I use for my illustrations involve the programs I learnt to use throughout my education.
3 How would you describe your style & what is your technical proces?
Before I begin illustrating, my technical process begins with collecting images from Instagram, Pinterest, various fashion magazines, and Vogue.com. I usually work with digital-based media, and when I am not using my iPad, I am typically working with ink, pastel, acrylic, and water colour. My style is playful, quirky, and exaggerated. The reason why I emphasize these characteristics is because I want my audience to find happiness and laughter throughout my art. And this is mainly because I think we take life a little too seriously sometimes.
4 What do you love most about your job & what not?
What I love about my job is that I am able to work from my own creative space, and the fact that I am passionate for what I do. What I don’t love about my job is my lack of patience. The reason why a lack of patience makes things difficult at times is because patience is an important part of life, and I have to make sure to remind myself every day that hard work pays off and patience is key!
5 Who or what inspires you & your work? And are there old masters where you get inspiration from?
There are many things around me that I am able to get inspired by. These things range from clothing, books, old magazines, and textiles. The sketches of old masters that I look up to are Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld, and David Downtown. What I appreciate about the three of these artists (and fashion designers) is their playfulness with figure, shape, and colour. I find playfulness to be an intriguing element in the creation of art because it is able to evoke a story by capturing the fundamental parts of the image without getting too bogged down by the details.
6 How did you get into live fashion sketching & what is your dream project?
When I was working at a high-end retail store, I was introduced to a talented fashion artist, Chris Nevin. Chris was kind enough to introduce me to an agent who eventually got me my first live-illustration gig. My dream project would be to live-illustrate for various designers like Chanel during Paris Fashion Week.
7 How important is social media for you? I saw that Marc Jacobs liked your work on social media? Did that, or something else, result in a collaboration?
Yes, social media is very important to me because I was able to catch the attention of Marc Jacobs (a designer who I have looked up to since I was a teenager) through the connectivity that social media is able to provide. Although social media is an important tool, it isn’t the only thing that I use. Other ways that I have been able to gain exposure was through networking and reaching out to companies that I want to work with.
8 Which influencers / people / illustrators are you following on social media?
There are too many to name! But the ones that inspire me the most right now are: Marc Jacobs, Jacky Blue, Findvin, Karl Lagerfeld, David Downton, Maria Bernad, Vogue, and probably every vintage store that exists (but these are the pivotal ones: Mama Loves You Vintage, The Cat’s Meow, and Imparfaite Paris).
9 Name 3 things you can’t live without...
The three things I can’t live without: Coffee, my iPad Pro, and red lipstick!
10 Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists?
Don’t be too hard on yourself, and don’t over think things. If you’re having a bad day, take a step back, and relax. Just be true to yourself, don’t rush into things, and believe in your craft. Be patient because everything will happen in time.
Follow Annienaran on her instagram!