Anna Karlin, Designer
“That mix between art and design…I’m interested in finding my place in that.”
Anna Karlin works across all media, and when she says all, she means it. Her studio practice encompasses everything from digital and print to interiors and set design. All her life, Anna has been drawn to the creation of objects.
“Just making stuff, decorating stuff, I always just loved it,” says Anna, who’s lived in New York for the past six years. “It’s having the energy to bounce from thing to thing and make each thing happen. It’s more about what I want to be working on, and that could be many things at one time or just one piece at a time.”
The next venture for the designer-maker-artist-manufacturer? Launching her own line of fine jewelry.
Q: What is inspiring you right now?
The mix conversation between art and design. I’m interested in finding my place in that space and what it means to me. It’s something I need to give myself the time to explore.
Q: What’s the process of launching your furniture design company like? Is the creative process different without client feedback?
Yes, I think that’s why I ultimately launched it—doing something for the sake of doing it rather than in response to a brief. I think what’s exciting now, a couple of years in, is that we’ve got our production methods well-honed, which allows us to be this lovely little nimble machine. When it comes to deciding how I want to make something, I know how, and I’ve got a handle on the market and if it’s actually going to work.
Q: What technologies do you geek out on?
I don’t start with: this machine does this and works like this. For me it’s much more: This is what I want it to look like…how do I get it to look like that? From there, I discover all these weird and wonderful processes I can teach myself. So it’s sort of the reverse process for me.
Q: What is your experience as a woman in a typically male-dominated profession?
For me, because I’m so used to working in male environments. Given my history with set building and interiors, I’ve learned to really handle it. You go to any design show and how many female designers are there? There are like four of us. So there’s still a conversation to be had about what is going on there. There’s plenty of extremely talented female designers, but how many of them actually go out and start their own business? I think men promote themselves as artists and these sort of individual geniuses whereas women get lumped into craft and makers.
Q: What is one piece of advice that you would give to young women who are just getting started?
Do it. Do it do it do it! There’s a huge space for us and it’s a space that’s ready for the taking. At the moment, most of the designers are male, so they’re producing what they produce. I’d be excited to see what women produce and see how it differs. There’s plenty of room!