April 2016 featured artist: Annie Santa Maria
Meet Annie Santa Maria
We invite you to explore Annie’s dimensional cut-and-folded paper art
We are pleased to introduce you to Annie Santa Maria, our featured artist for April, 2016. Annie’s cut-and-folded paper artwork is a collector favorite, and we know you will enjoy learning about this talented woman and her fascinating journey to the fine art world.
First stop: the Peace Corp
After Annie earned a master’s degree in anthropology from Dartmouth University, the new graduate devoted herself to teaching in economically disadvantaged communities, first as a Peace Corp volunteer in Africa and then as an English teacher in Mexico.
But Annie soon discovered that her pupils had much to teach her in return – powerful lessons about the value of friendship and community.
“I learned how to be an anthropologist at Dartmouth, but Africa and Mexico taught me how to be a human being,” Annie says.
Discovering fine art
But how did Annie go from teacher to artist? It all started with wanting to tell a story to children.
18 years ago, after returning from Mexico, Annie decided to write and illustrate a children’s book about the Huichol Indians, an indigenous group in Mexico with whom she had become close. She wanted to illustrate the book in a way that would both engage the young readers and also be reminiscent of the Huichol’s traditional bead and yarn art forms, eventually choosing cut paper craft to fulfill her vision.
Once she discovered cut-and-folded paper, Annie kept exploring the medium, along the way creating a unique art form that borrows from collage, origami, and kirigami – but is greater than the sum of these parts when the work is taken as a whole.
The artwork today
Annie uses her artistic talents to pay homage to the people she met abroad, creating her works from her studio in Tubac, the community she now calls home.
Her signature images feature African and Mexican women, dresses flowing as they engage in their daily work. Although difficult to discern from photos, Annie’s images are highly dimensional – the paper elements providing both depth and height. Almost all the images are created with paper alone – even the fluffy clouds floating across the sky are paper, not paint.
Keeping with her global aesthetic, Annie sources her papers from all over the world, including Nepal, India, Mexico, and Japan. She uses only archival glues and finishes each work with framing under UV-protectant glass.
Though Annie has been successful in fine art for almost two decades, she is still thankful for the reaction to her work. “I am humbled that people like the images I create,” she says. “It is still delightful to me how much people love the art.”
We invite you to come by the gallery to see Annie’s work. We think you will be as enchanted by the images as much as we are. For information about any of Annie’s work, please contact the gallery.
Contact the gallery
Regular season 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., seven days a week
Summer season- May through September 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., seven days a week