I discovered Akamina Studio's cards at an artist show during the seasonal holidays and immediately fell in love. I wanted to hang each and everyone of these beautiful illustrations on my walls, being gift time, I ended up buying all my loved ones a card, because they are so nice you could frame them and were something one would likely like to keep.
I was visiting my friend Nicole and gifting her a present with the card, when I saw on her window sill a card by the same artist, that I had given her awhile back and had forgotten about. That was a sure sign that obviously I loved this artist! So upon returning, I knew I had to contact Bec at Akamina Studio's and get make them available in the Zen Nomad, Treasures for Life section.
Have you always lived by the mountains?
I grew up in Byron Bay, Australia, surrounded by the ocean, so a pretty different landscape to where I now live. I first visited Canada over six years ago and fell in love with the mountains and have been living here in Calgary for the past four. I miss the ocean everyday but feel so lucky to be surrounded by a new and inspiring landscape.
How do you like to spend your time in nature, or how do you engage with nature?
Hiking and camping is the best way to get out and envelope yourself in the natural world. You can set off on a trail and forget about everything. Sitting around a fire, sharing stories and tuning into the elements around you is so important. I always bring a camera and sketch book along and make studies which inspire my creative practice.
When/how did you learn/ start to illustrate?
I've always been interested in drawing animals. I remember being really young and looking up what birds had visited our house that afternoon with my dad and trying to draw them. I think from an early age it became a foundation of who I am. To sit and study the intricate details of plants and animals is fascinating and a form of meditation.
What inspires you to illustrate the animals? Do you see animals as a spiritual connection or teacher?
I think everyone holds a spiritual connection to one animal or another. It’s so amazing to see my drawings connect with people in different ways and for different reasons. Whether it be a spirit animal, past life or memory, everyone has a story and a reason for connecting with my art and the animals I draw.
I love your aesthetic, what inspires this?
Thank you! I studied graphic design through university in Australia and that has influenced my work a lot. Through my degree I learnt the foundations of using negative space to create interesting compositions, digital processing, photography and other techniques that have informed my practice to what you see today. I’m always experimenting with new materials and processes to keep my work evolving.
If you could share a thought that would inspire people to go out and spend time with nature and how it would benefit them, what would it be?
Nature is all around us, you don’t have to go out on a 10 day trek to find it. We are a part of the natural world and I think people tend to forget that when they are surrounded by screens. Our home is the same home as the birds, the wolves and the whales. I think the more people get outside and respect that, the more humble and caring we will be as a species.
Tell me about your printing process, I understand you prefer to use fine art paper for the cards, what is the benefit to this?
I work with my partner Andrew who is a landscape photographer to create our prints under Akamina Studio. We print, cut and package all of our work from our studio in Calgary so we can make sure that everything is the best quality. We are quite fussy about paper stock as we want to make sure our work comes out the best it can. We print our cards on Fine Art Archival Cotton Rag paper so make sure the images never fade. They are printed to a standard frame size (5x7) so that when you send one of our cards, your giving a piece of artwork as well.
We are super delighted to make these beautifully illustrated cards available on Zen Nomad under our Treasures For Life, because gifting a card that someone would love to keep makes it extra special.
Sonja den Elzen
Sonja is a designer, yogi and lover of nature, always in the constant transformation of living the connected life.
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