An Art Journal Q&A by Dawn Sokol
This month, Dawn would like to introduce you to Annee Cunningham an artist from Laurel, Montana.
Why art journaling?
I’ve always wanted to create art, but I felt it was something beyond my grasp. Besides, I wanted to be a poet and poets are too busy smoking clove cigarettes and brooding. As a teenager I filled notebook after notebook with poems and words, sometimes pasting in bits cut out of magazines or doodles. What I didn’t realize I was creating art, and the pages with stuff on them made me feel lighter happier about what was going on around me. It still does. It never fails to bring a smile to my face. Even if everything around me is falling apart, I know I can grab my journal and let go.
What inspired you to start art journaling?
It was 2001 and I had never heard of art journaling and didn’t even think anything like this was possible. Then I discovered Gwen Diehn’s book The Decorated Page: Journals, Scrapbooks & Albums Made Simply Beautiful. It was the most radical thing I’d ever seen and I thought, “I want to do that. Wait, I can DO that!” I bought some art supplies and got busy. What keeps me going is being able to watch myself change—growing into the woman I want to be.
What art journalers are your faves? Other artists you look to for inspiration?
What important bit of advice can you give to those wanting to start art journaling?
Start with what you have. I still use cheap paints and kids art supplies. Do it for yourself and nobody else. The pages you make for the world will never mean as much to you as ones you make for yourself. And don’t be afraid of the ugly pages. They are your friend, even if they don’t feel like it.
Tell us a little about your process. What mediums do you like to use?
I start by painting found papers, brown paper bags, vintage book pages, wrapping paper, etc., keeping them loose and in whole sheets until I’m ready to use them. I then make a quick little book out of the painted pages and any other kind of paper I can get my hands on. No rules—anything goes. Sometimes I use a sewing machine to sew some scraps together before they are bound in the book. I use magazines and catalogs, as well as my own photos, sticking them down with double-sided tape or a glue stick or even sometimes stapling to the page, scribbling, doodling and writing as I go. I don’t have any plans or ideas for my pages, so they are organic and messy. I love to use cheap supplies, kids colored pencils and markers, cheap watercolors, inks, lace, my own photos, tape, glue sticks, office supplies from work—anything goes. I’ve even used instant coffee once while on break at work. (The page still smells like coffee!)
Do you also have other ways you like to create, and if so, what are they?
I still write poetry, which will always be my first love. I’ve also dabbled in painting and crochet.
MORE RESOURCES FOR MIXED MEDIA ARTISTS