We first met Anna Swanson last year as a vendor at our Houston show. The 42-year-old Austin native captured our eyes with her signature big brushstrokes and colorful abstract artwork.
This summer, we reached out to the working mom to see if she would collaborate with us on some exclusive art prints — yes, only for us! — for our online shop. Together, we discussed some ideas of what we liked and what we thought our shoppers would be drawn to.
We landed on four prints: Two abstract vibrant leaf designs and a pair of blush cactus collage and paint pieces priced $38-$40 each. We hope you love these works as much as we do and help us support this talented artist and teacher.
Meet Anna in person at our Houston fall show November 18th and visit shopfleastyle.com in the meantime to score your favorite exclusive print — or prints! — now.
What’s the meaning behind the name Demi + Olive?
Demi is the name of my six-year-old daughter. It’s a Greek name, she has Greek heritage on her father’s side. Olive is a color and a name I have always loved. It’s also one of the colors I use a lot of in my pieces. I thought the two names fit together.
What is your favorite part about being Austin based?
I was born and raised in Austin so it is natural for me to be based here. Growing up here, I’ve been able to make lifelong connections in the creative world which has helped me grow as an artist. Two of my favorite Austin artists are friends of my parents who I met as a child, who were also inspirations to me. One of them had a studio above the restaurant my father owned on South Congress Avenue in the 80’s. We used to be able to go up to his studio and see all of his paintings.
Where did you go to school and what did you major in?
I first went to school in New Orleans. That is where I decided I wanted to be an artist. I moved back to Texas and went Texas State University and majored in Fine Arts/Textiles & Fiber. I also have my Art Education K-12 certification.
While doing your own art, you are also working at an art studio with children. How has that inspired your artistic views and work?
I love teaching children’s art and everything about art education. Children are so full of wonder and curiosity and are natural artists. I can see so much personality and learn so much about a child through their artwork. They are usually the ones teaching and inspiring me. It can also be challenging and unexpected just like doing my own art, in that you have to let go and not expect their projects to come out perfect or as planned. It’s about the process. I love being able to inspire them to learn and be creative. I will be teaching art classes to teens this Fall so I am looking forward to that!
How would you explain your artistic style?
One aspect of my style is the big, colorful and abstract with loose brushstrokes. I am really inspired by interior design, deserts, children’s art, and color. Another style I do or that I’m recognized for is the photo transfer and collages which are defined by cactus photos, words and patterned paper. These are more process oriented in that I take a photo and create transfers on paper with collage. More details. I go back and forth between working small and detailed to big and abstract.
Can you explain your process for your prints?
I take the original pieces to get professionally scanned or photographed at a local print and reprographic shop here in Austin. They send me the jpg’s, and I then edit or touch them up in Photoshop. I order my prints depending on size and quantity from the shop.
What does your dream office look like?
All natural light, bright, white, spacious, view of the hill country or a desert, relaxed, big tables…
After a long day in the office looking at color and canvases you unwind by?
Going to yoga, walking my dog, hanging out with my daughter and husband in our backyard gazing at the stars.
Where do you get your supplies?
Asel Art for canvases, Jerry’s Artarama for paint, and pictureframes.com for frames. Also, online or Michael’s if I need something quick.
What is it like owning your own business and being a mom?
For me, it’s important to be a mom first and take care of all of her needs, then I can focus on my business. My daughter has always shared my studio space with her own desk and table in the studio and worked alongside me if she is interested. She’s grown up drawing, painting, and being creative and I love watching her grow. I wanted her to have space to do that. Now that she’s older, she can come to my shows and go on deliveries with me. She also loves to shop for art supplies.
What are the challenges of being a working mom?
Being a mom and having a business is challenging in that I’ve had to discover what works and what doesn’t. In order to keep doing what I love, I’ve had to juggle different jobs and/or pass on some things in order to keep things flowing. I’ve also learned that it’s okay not to be doing something and working on my business 100% of the time. If you have to take a step back, it’s ok. It will always be there. It’s more important to have balance and happiness in life.
Meet Anna at our Houston fall show 11/18 at Silver Street Studios and visit shopfleastyle.com to score your favorite print — or prints! — now!