Rebecca Juliette Interviews Artist Annie Howe
Artists Work is a BmoreArt interview series that explores the work that artists do to make a living while they work on their ‘real work’ – their art.
Annie Howe is the owner and artist behind Annie Howe Papercuts – located in Baltimore, Maryland. After graduating from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA in Fiber, she worked in community arts for many years, creating and contributing to the Baltimore art community with large-scale puppetry and shadow puppets. As her love for storytelling grew through this large medium, she found her focus as an artist shifting from large 3D objects to that of the smaller more intimate medium of paper.
She founded Annie Howe Papercuts in 2010, creating handmade papercuts for businesses, publications, and private collections. You can find her original work in The Cottage Journal, Baltimore Bride, The City Paper, and this September (2105) recently completed cover artwork and spot illustrations for Pulitzer Prize winning Author Rick Bragg’s new collection of essays published by Oxmoor House Publishing.
Description of Art You Make: Handmade papercuts designed and cut with care
Day Job (Title and Location/ Employer):
Full time papercutter!! My studio is on the second floor of the Chop Shop Hair Salon in Lauraville! So I basically get to hang out with the coolest ladies ever.
Hours per week at work: 40-75
Hours per week in studio:
40-75. Same as above, but I do spend a lot of time doing administrative tasks like emails, sending proposals, and meeting with clients. I do try to spend a lot of time hands on papercutting though.
Duties or tasks performed at day job:
I run all the aspects of my studio – I answer emails, I send proposals, I do my social media, I hand draw and hand cut all my papercuts. I also frame pieces and buy supplies. The only thing I don’t do is Bookeeping! I hired a bookeeper – thank god!
Best thing about your day job:
I get to make every decision about how I run things, I get to collaborate with amazing clients from couples celebrating a special event, to awesome brands Like Huckle’s Hot Sauce (I did the papercut elements on their labels), to working and hiring other local artists and businesses. I hire photographers, screen printers, and a local framer as well!
How does your day job enhance or detract from your studio practice?
My day job is my studio practice so it is all tied together. I never take on projects that I think will be a distraction to my work and goals. I get energy from working and seeing my papercuts come to life!
Favorite job ever:
I have had a ton of great jobs it is hard to choose – I worked with an amazing traveling puppet theater/street theater group in Rhode Island called Big Nazo! That was pretty awesome.
My most favorite and most important job was working with Molly Ross and Nana Projects here in Baltimore. Molly founded and directed the Great Halloween Lantern Parade in Patterson Park and I was lucky enough to spend many years working with Molly and other amazing artists to create parades and shadow puppet shows. That is how I started paper cutting, from making silhouettes all the time.
Job you couldn’t wait to leave:
I worked at a flower shop in college that was not super great.
Is it your goal to become a full-time artist? Why or why not?
Yes! It is the best – the more time I have to put into my work the more it grows and changes.
What advice do you have for young artists just out of school, in terms of balancing your work and studio practice?
I think staying under-employed is a great way to have jobs and still have time for your artwork. I am deadline oriented so for me early on, creating deadlines for myself helped me stay motivated after school.
What’s coming up next for you as an artist? What projects are you working on or looking forward to?
I have a bunch of exciting projects coming up that I can not share yet. Best way to stay in touch is to sign my mailing list or follow me on Instagram and Facebook!
I am excited about going to an illustration conference in Austin this summer as well as learning to translate some of my papercuts into 3D metal pieces!!
BmoreArt is Rebecca Juliette’s day job. She facilitiates the Artists Work Interview Series and acts as Assistant Editor and Events Manager. Email her your events and calls for entry at events [at] bmoreart.com.
Biography and all images courtesy of the artist.