A Visit to Ann Mari in Sweden
A FAIRY TALE COME TRUE
Pettit and David Riché recently visited Sweden
to meet the renowned fairy artist and painter Ann Mari
The visit was filmed and featured on Swedish television
and in the national press.
The following is the full extract from the Press:
For the original story in Swedish Click
She knows everything about Fairy Land
For 18 months english author David Riché was
looking for the artist Ana Mae Seagren. Finally he
found her in Helsingborg - but under the name Ann Mari
Now she participates in a book presenting
prominent fairy illustrators from all over the world.
Stimulating the imagination. Ann Mari Sjögren
has painted fairies for more than 60 years. She now
collaborates in an english anthology with artists from
the whole world.
English author David Riché wanted to put together
a book with artists who depict fairies. After long
and laborious searching in countries like Japan, France
and Germany he was able to trace and establish contact
with those persons that he considered the world's most
prominent fairy artists. Only one artist he didn't
find - Ana Mae Seagren.
he had was a book published in the 1940's with the
title A day in fairy land. But he failed in all efforts
to find her. Instead of giving up he surfed around
on the internet, made inquiries at libraries and museums.
Without finding the artist, though.
After 18 months of hard detective work there was almost
no hope left. By that time he received an email from
Per Arne Skansen in Sweden. The Swede could tell him
that Ana Mae Seagren's real name was Ann Mari Sjögren
and that she was still alive. As a matter of fact living
at Drottninggatan in Helsingborg.
The Englishman was overwhelmed and made contact with
her immediately. Did she want to collaborate in the
anthology together with fairy artists from other parts
of the world? he asked as he got in touch with her.
"When he called I thought it
was a joke. I mean I had hardly seen the book myself
since it was printed in the 1940's. But of course
I approved. It is a big honour to be in that anthology",
Ann Mari Sjögren says when we meet her in the
apartment at Drottninggatan.
At the table in front of her lies the english anthology The
Art of Faery which is now printed and on its way to
the book shops in many countries all over the world.
On the front is a future fairy in neon blue colours.
Together with artists from Japan and France one can
admire the drawings of Ann Mari Sjögren.
"I made them at age 25. I'm
now 85 so a little water has flown under the bridges
since then", says Ann Mari Sjögren.
During the 60 years that have passed since the first
book, she has produced about 20 titles. Children's
books all of them, and translated to many languages.
Inspiration often comes from nature in the vicinity
of Munka-Ljungby. The colours and shapes of the trees
and of the environment can be found in her illustrations.
And it was there she saw her first fairy.
" I sat on a stone as a dragonfly
flew by with its blue and stripy body. It was then
I got the inspiration for the pictures in the first
book", Ann Mari Sjögren says.
In connection with the publication of The Art of
Fairy, David Riché came and visited Ann Mari
Sjögren in Helsingborg. "It
was really exciting that he came and visited me, together
with the artist Myrea Pettit. She showed me her illustrations
and I was very inspired, even though we paint with
totally different techniques and styles",
says Ann Mari Sjögren.
pace of production has not decreased. Despite her age
she is still active. She now cooperates with author
Lena Lindh. Together they make books in format A3 for
children. The style is recognizable. With sensitive
water colours she depicts a dreamlike imaginative landscape.
Now she is finishing their third book in common.
"It is really nice
with this appreciation coming now from England.
Of course it is a little late in life, but I'm
not the one to sit down and be a dull pensioner.
There is yet time to make more children's books",
says Ann Mari Sjögren.
With sincere and special thanks to Per Arne
February 4, 2004