Art of Weird

In by Marianna Kisandraki

Whether through photography, drawing, working with fractal software, or a mixture of those, Annette Price loves creating images.

Her first product is finally out! Strange Abstractions – a calendar for 2021. The images were created using fractal software to make atmospheric and other-worldly images that are colourful, interesting and, well, abstract. Read more about Annette’s journey below.

What’s your background? Do you have any qualifications?

“BA (Hons) in graphic design and illustration from Kingston University.”

What does your business do?

“I create products featuring fantasy art. The artwork is created through drawing, photography and image creating, and editing software.”

Why and how did you start your business journey?

“My business journey began in 2000 when I began H2o Photography, creating photography of wild places and adventure sports for editorial and corporate clients.” 

How did you come up with this business idea? What about your business name?

“Pre-lockdown I had been doing location photography of mainly water-based subject – hence the name H2o Photography. I had been working on a project photographing the Thames, from a kayak, from source to sea, some of this work was exhibited at the Riverside Gallery in Richmond-upon-Thames in the autumn of 2019.

At the beginning of 2020, I had two exhibitions lined up and some commissioned work but due to Covid-19 this was all cancelled. I needed to think of something new.

The Art of Weird

Listening to the news was depressing there was so much doom and gloom caused by the pandemic that I wanted to find a way of creating something that would bring some joy and fun into peoples’ lives – and mine too.  I had originally trained as an illustrator and began drawing again, natural history subjects initially, found in a garden, but soon I was creating little aliens and mixing them up with garden creatures. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that life exists beyond our own planet and wonder what that life might look like. My drawings are a little bit tongue-in-cheek and not too serious, an attempt at introducing you to these otherworldly creatures.  They are fun little characters, rather than serious sci-fi.  I also began experimenting with fractal generating software, through which you can create beautiful and ethereal images.

The name Art of Weird, to me, summed up my new work, it sounds intriguing and should appeal to the curious and anyone interested in fantasy art.” 

Did you have any other ideas at the very beginning?

“No.”

How did you decide to start your business during this challenging period?

“By changing the images I was creating and aiming for a different market, I could continue to create images and products without travelling anywhere or meeting up with other people, which wasn’t practical during the pandemic.  As I write this (November 2020) I have just launched my first product, the Strange Abstractions Calendar 2021, but I have several more products in development which will be released soon.”

What inspires you to do what you do?

“Wanting to bring some fun into peoples’ lives and I guess I love creating images and it doesn’t matter whether that’s through photography, drawing, working with fractal software or a mixture.  Nature inspires many of the images I create, but I also have my photography and illustration heroes who inspire both my artistic work and business practice.”

What’s your next step?

“To develop more products and to introduce at least one product through a Kickstarter campaign starting in January 2021.”

How has your journey been so far?

“Due to the pandemic, it’s been financially rocky, but I have found a really creative and fun way of making new products to hopefully help lighten other peoples’ lives a little as well as mine.”

What’s your business dream?

“To create products that people enjoy and want to buy, which are unusual, fun and imaginative. I plan to become a serial Kickstarter introducing at least one new product every other month and using Kickstarter to research the market and fund the development of that product.

Now I’ve mentioned creating products a lot, but haven’t said what they will be. Initially, an A4 calendar. Items currently in development include T-shirts, mugs, jigsaw puzzles, art prints and posters. Longer-term plans include silk scarfs, bags and maybe decorated pottery etc.”

How do you define success? What’s your advice to other people with any kind of business ideas?

“To me, success will mean continually creating innovative and fun images and developing products that people enjoy. In five years’ time, I would like to have a large range of products on the Art of Weird website with an engaged audience and happy customers. 
For anyone wanting to start their own business, I would say – go for it – if you are self-motivated, driven to succeed and don’t mind putting many hours into developing it. If you’re passionate about your business idea, bringing that idea to life will feel very worthwhile.”  

How has PBC helped you?

“Over the past twenty years of being a freelance photographer, the Portobello Business Centre has been a constant source of inspiration, advice and support, from one-to-one business advice and counselling sessions, to workshops. Having access to their excellent advisors has made a big difference, particularly when problems crop up and I’ve not known how to deal with them. Colin Rutt was the advisor I normally visited and he has been exceptionally helpful and supportive over the years.” 

Would you recommend PBC?

“Absolutely 😊. Anyone thinking of starting their own business would be advised to contact the Portobello Business Centre. Do you have a business idea? Not sure if it will work? They will help you to work through potential challenges and find solutions.  If you have been in business for a while and are feeling overwhelmed or lost, they will help you get back in control and see a clear way forward.”

Instagram: @artofweird1
Facebook: @artofweird1
Twitter: @ArtofWeird1
Website: artofweird.com
Email: annette@artofweird.com
Get your Strange Abstractions Calendar 2021 here.