Annika Hein - Creative Director of Jane Magazine - We Are Inspired

Oh how the world has changed since we met with Annika Hein in December of last year. One of the beautiful changes is the birth of Annika's baby Vahla Ines born late March - welcome to the world littlest one. May it be full of light, love and kindness for you and all you touch. Annika Hein is the Creative Director of Jane magazine by The Grey Attic, a multidisciplinary artist and also a writer - the most poetic one that I know. Her words are woven seamlessly together infused with wonder at the world around her. It's such a treasured moment to sit down in a quiet place with Jane magazine, which Annika and her partner Odin create together, and dive into each page that has been so beautifully crafted and curated. I hope you enjoy the journey below. 

Can you share a little more about yourself, your upbringing, and background — what has been integral in becoming the woman you are today? 

I was born in Perth, Western Australia. We moved around quite a lot for the first part of my childhood and I think that element of fluidity allowed me to be quite adaptive in my adult life and to have an explorative sense of home life and what that looks like. I’ve always been really inspired by discovering new environments and challenging the traditional archetypes of what’s required to feel safe and settled.

As a child I began exploring different creative mediums as a way to document and understand the world around me—writing poems, making and collecting lists, keeping notebooks, taking photographs—and I suppose this practice not only continued into my adult life but also shaped the intention of my creative work. The element of recording and keeping a personal archive has always been really important to me; I gain a lot of inspiration from revisiting these memories, understanding and interpreting them as past but vital versions of myself.

In the past few years I’ve really started to develop my voice and be more considered in the type of work I create and how it aligns to my personal values. For me, it’s about really slowing down, looking at the world in a particular—mostly abstract—way, and offering that point of view for others to engage with in a purposely-poetic format. There’s never been an agenda or a motif behind my work, other than creating out of love and proposing a different way to view and engage with the world. Art as an act of hope is really my main focus.

What have been the most important touchstones in your understanding of art and aesthetics?

Visiting Shakespeare and Company and Coco Chanel’s apartment in Paris. Listening to Ludovico Einaudi’s Experience for the first time. Seeing Patti Smith perform her Horse’s tour. Standing outside the Chelsea Hotel in New York City. Living in Daylesford. Reading Joan Didion. Visiting Jim Morrison’s grave. Our mother Earth.

All these things have helped me to understand the concept of art as an act of hope, rebellion, and revolution.

What about starting your own business has changed or informed you approach to creating, more generally?

It’s taught me the power of authenticity and allowed me to fully understand and interpret the concept of doing things your own way and doing them first and foremost for love.

What has living in the countryside taught you about yourself and your creative process?

Actually, I think living in the countryside has reminded me of things, rather than taught me things. It’s offered me a way to connect back to the parts of myself that I had forgotten and the childhood lessons that had been smothered or silenced by adult life. There’s more space and time to really slow down, to connect back to my intuition and to make more considered choices and decisions. In more specific terms I think these reminders have given me strength to trust and back myself, to care a little less about outside expectation and influence, and to really develop my voice and beliefs and find out what’s truly important to me and my being. My creative process as a result has become unforgivingly slower, more mindful, and more considered in its purpose. I think I’ve also learnt to really ride and trust the ebbs and flows of both life and of creative output. We don’t always need to be “on” and it’s actually really nice to notice those quieter moments and use them for reflection and hibernation.

Unexpected pairings. I love learning how artists think about combining things in unexpected yet delightful ways. In the name of unconventionality, what comes to mind for you?

I’m always exploring the strength we can find in softness.

What are some of your favourite books — ones you’ve either recently read or that you have perhaps given to others as gifts?

Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The White Album, Blue Nights, and The Year of Magical Thinking, all by Joan Didion; Just Kids, by Patti Smith; A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway; Ariel, by Sylvia Plath; Any of Mary Oliver’s poetry books; The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle; Inward, by Yung Pueblo; The Waves, by Virginia Woolf. Bluets, by Maggie Nelson.

 I could keep going? Haha.

When do you feel the most in your power or the most connected to yourself?

When I allow myself the space and time to be fully present in a moment. This is usually when I’m surrounded by nature, at the end of a yoga class, or in the middle of writing a creative essay; the thinking mind falls away and I’m guided by feeling.

In what ways has your life surprised you?

I think part of being a writer means that I’m constantly surprised and always curious. Life surprises me daily, that’s part of the magic. You take a deep breath, drink some water, look around, and just adjust to a new sense of direction. 

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

On new year’s day. We woke up at 4am and walked down to the beach to watch the first sky of 2020 illuminate. And then we went for a sunrise swim.

What is a current curiosity for you?

Baking sourdough and the little life that’s currently growing inside of me. Also given the current political and environmental climate, I’ve been looking at ways to evolve my creative practice and offering to instigate community connection and positive change. 


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