For Annabella Boatwright, art is about so much more than just producing a product. It’s about communicating.
“Art has been a constant source of happiness in my life,” Annabella says. “My thoughts have always been more image based than textual, so art feels like a truthful way for me to communicate. I love being able to communicate a little piece of myself to others through printmaking, either through a bandana design someone can wear or a card they can give to someone they love.”
As a freelance artist in High Point, Annabella works in a variety of mediums including printmaking. She also draws portraits, as well as significant stills of family homes, pets, and more.
“There is definitely joy in my initial creation and process of a print or drawing,” Annabella says, “but the real satisfaction is seeing what kind of meaning the work creates for others.”
We sat down with the multi-talented force behind Neon Tumbleweed Studio and learned from Annabella a little more about her business and artistic vision.
Q. Tell us about your business in 10 words or less:
A. Hoping to spread joy or thoughtfulness through color and texture.
Q. How and when did you first get the idea to begin your business/organization/practice?
A. It has really been a natural progression. I wanted to continue making linocut prints outside of school, so started a small home practice in my studio with materials I could afford. Having a scaled down printmaking practice really lent itself to creating on a smaller scale, and led me to make things like cards and tiny prints I could offer to my community. I started selling on my Etsy, Neon Tumbleweed Studio, about a year ago. I also love vending in person at events in High Point!
Q. What was the driving motivation or inspiration for your business?
A. My motivation is always evolving… Currently I want to make pretty and useful items with responsible and natural materials.
Q. What steps did you have to take to get to your current position?
A. I just kept making and sharing! I knew if I didn’t try to be an artist, it really wouldn’t happen. I knew it was something inside me I needed to get out and would lead me in the right direction if I let it. I also thought I could power through alone, without a community or sense of place. Boy did my view on that change! As soon as I started investing in High Point, the support I felt (and continue to feel) carried me to my current position & encouraged me to keep going.
Q. What was one of the biggest obstacles you had to overcome for your business, and how did you overcome that?
A. The initial decision to throw myself into art-making instead of pursuing some kind of museum or art history job was probably the toughest obstacle. It really just took some blind faith that everything would work out, as well as realizing that it’s okay to not have everything together RIGHT NOW. It continues to be a process!
Q. What has been one of your proudest achievements or biggest highlights from your work?
A. I don’t know if I could say. I’m proud to admit that there’s always more to learn. I’m currently most excited about naturally dyeing fabric to print on. Color is an achievement! Feels like magic every time.
Q. Who encouraged you and made it possible to get to where you are today?
A. So many people throughout my life – my parents and family of course! They’ve always encouraged me to continue being an artist, even when I had no idea what I was going to do next. Some people who really brought me out into the High Point family would be Evan and Heather Blackerby at Friendship Plant Co., Zack with HPNC and the sweet folks at Farmer’s Market like Growing High Point. They are so awesome. Their openness and love of this city really inspired me to stay and invest in where I am.
Q. Why did you choose to locate your business in High Point?
A. It’s where I am! Communities happen when people care, and stay, and offer what they can to the people around them. I’m just trying to stay true to that.
Q. How do you see your company contributing to High Point’s community?
A. The work I make is mostly informed by my observations of the world around me, which is High Point! I hope when people see my art or talk to me about it, they’re inspired to slow down and appreciate the little details of everyday life and nature. Or to share it with someone else as a gift! Everything I make is a little piece of my heart, so I’m hoping to spread quiet moments of truth through that.
Q. If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting out in High Point, what would it be?
A. Really just to show up and say hello. We’ve got a lot of love to go around. You’re welcome here!
Q. Where do you see your company/organization in the next 5 years?
A. No idea. Still making things definitely! The cool thing about art is that it can change with you as you need. I’ll just keep making what I feel is missing or could be of service to the people I meet!
Q. What are you excited about for High Point’s future?
A. Everything! I can feel a real momentum building here. It’s awesome now, and I can’t wait to see what’s next too. So many good hearts and hopeful people around. I know it’s going to be great.
We have a feeling that Annabella’s art is something will continue to contribute to High Point’s rich artist network for years to come, so we can’t help but agree, it’s going to be great.
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Photography by Maria West Photography