Introducing Yoloha Artist, Annie Riker – the mind behind our Wild Jungle and Mountain Magic designs! Annie is an artist and designer who loves to paint with cheerful color palettes and experiment with different textures and techniques. She is especially inspired by nature, positivity, and the artistic vibe of her hometown, Asheville NC.
We connected with Annie to talk about her artistic journey, inspirations, motivations and more. Here’s what she had to say:
- When did your artistic journey begin?
From a very young age, I knew I was an artist. Painting and drawing have always brought me joy. Knowing that call to create on paper when I was growing up has brought a deeper understanding to me of what it means to deliberately create my life. In recent years, I’ve come to realize how creating art is so similar to creating the life I want to live. It’s all a process. I’m ever-evolving and never done!
- What style of art do you stick to?
For the first fifteen years of my career, I worked as a graphic designer with several design companies. At the end of 2016, I became a mom and left my full time Creative Director role at a nonprofit in order to focus on my own personal art and have more time at home with my family.
Currently, most of my work is created digitally, which has been the easiest way for me to keep creating while also chasing around my 3-year-old (who is sometimes sitting in my lap while I draw)! I love painting with bright colors, and I have fun experimenting with different textures and techniques.
- Where do you draw inspiration from?
All forms of nature continually inspire me. I’m endlessly inspired when I’m surrounded by beautiful landscapes. I also love looking up close at all the textures of plants whenever I’m out for a walk. Along with everything natural, other common themes you’ll find in my work are cozy interiors, positivity, food, and playful patterns.
- Who do you look up to in your industry?
There are so many artists & makers I admire, it’s hard to pick even a handful! Generally, I resonate with anyone who radiates joy and creates inspired work unique to themselves. Watching others create when they’re in touch with their passions brings me happy chills!
- What training/certifications do you have?
I earned my BFA from Ringling College of Art & Design in 2003. My major is in graphic design, but I also enjoyed many printmaking, illustration, painting, drawing, and photography classes during my four years there. With nearly 20 years working in the design industry, my knowledge of branding, layout, pattern, design trends, and creative direction all contribute to my current work as an independent artist & surface designer. My style weaves together this experience from print and packaging design, my fine art background and deep-rooted passion for creating with my hands, and my joy of artistic experimentation.
- How did you hear about Yoloha Yoga and why do you identify with us?
The spring of 2019 was when I first discovered that my home city of Asheville, NC had a big yoga festival called Love Shine Play. I remember looking at the festival details and thinking it would be so amazing to go, and then made a note to come back to it later. Shortly after that, I saw the call for entries from the Love Shine Play festival to design an official yoga mat that would be crafted by Yoloha. This was my first time learning about Yoloha, and seeing a cork yoga mat! I immediately resonated with Yoloha’s eco-friendly values, as well as the welcoming vibe I felt from the brand. As well, designing a yoga mat had been a long-time dream of mine! My heart lit up and I dove right in, creating the design that became the official festival mat—Mountain Magic!
- What inspired your Mountain Magic and Wild Jungle designs?
Mountain Magic represents the spirit of how I feel about living in Asheville, surrounded by ancient mountains. As it was originally the official 2019 Asheville Love Shine Play festival mat, I wanted to create a beautiful local keepsake for festival attendees who had traveled from all over.
Wild Jungle is inspired from my love of lush botanicals. My mother grew up in Hawaii, and always kept tropical Hawaiian prints and decor in the house. Big leaves and lots of greenery evokes peaceful, calming energy, which aligns with the feeling I have while practicing yoga.
- What motivated you to be a Yoloha Artist?
Creating art for practical products that I use myself is truly one of my biggest joys! I love that I can use color and pattern to add more beauty to what surrounds me in my home every day. I have a personal value of wanting every design I put out in the world be something I’d proudly want to showcase in my own home.
- What role does yoga play in your life?
My journey with yoga has evolved a lot since the first time I recall trying it out a couple of decades ago—with a bit of curiosity and a goal to stretch my hamstrings! Yoga really started to stick with me about 10 years ago, and I began feeling the shift of what it means to me now. My practice has taught me so much, but what shines the most for me is allowing “what is” to be okay. Allowing my body and mind to be different and unique to others. Allowing myself to try something new if it feels good to me. And allowing myself a break when I need it.
Currently, as a mom with a 3-year-old at home, a lot of my practice is off the mat! However, I love to keep my mat out in my studio and take a moment for deep breaths and intuitive stretches when I feel the impulse. My son joins me sometimes too, and we have fun making up poses together!
- What is a mantra that you live by?
“Things are always working out for me.” It’s a quote from one of my favorite teachers, Abraham Hicks. It reminds me that I don’t have to worry. I can trust that even if I can’t clearly see the bigger picture of life in all moments, that things are continually in progress and will always work out in some way. It has always been that way, and I have faith it always will be that way.