Spotlight: Visual activist and storyteller Andrea Pippins

Spotlight: Visual activist and storyteller Andrea Pippins

We asked Stockholm-based illustrator and author, Andrea Pippins, where she gets her inspiration from and why creating meaningful books is so impactful.

What are some of the places you get your appreciation and inspiration from when you’re creating journals and coloring books?

When creating illustrations or developing my book ideas, I often think about 10-year-old Andrea and what she would have enjoyed. 

Books were my refuge as a child. 

They were all so inspiring, but looking back, I did not have access to a lot of books featuring characters that looked like the people in my community or me. I did not see a lot of activity books that gave guidance on the creative process. 

Now I hope to create books that ask the questions I wish I were asked more often of me when I was a kid; questions that inspire can help young people to think about their dreams and prompts that push their creativity. 

What’s your advice to artists or writers who are looking to expand their creativity?

Artists and writers should spend time practicing their craft or creative interests and learning new things to expand their creativity. Making time for experimenting and being curious opens us up to new ideas. 

My favorite things to do when I am looking to expand or practice my craft is to go to the library, meet with other artists, or play with new materials.

What are the top 3 inspirational places in Stockholm that you love best?

Some of my favorite inspirational places in Stockholm are: 

1—Fotografiska for their dynamic photographic conversations about our world.

2—Kulturhuset (temporarily closed) for their cultural events and their amazing arts and culture library. I always enjoy their talks and events. 

3—Moderna Museet for their glorious exhibitions and collections of modern art.

But I also love sitting in a cozy, quiet coffee shop, like the Fabrique at T-Centralen (my favorite hide-out), where I can sit and write down my ideas. 

I have a deep obsession with magazines. Whenever I need a little creative pick-me-up, I love visiting Paper Cut or Press Stop to browse and treat myself to a new find.

For color and pattern inspiration visiting Colours of Africa is a top favorite. This beautiful shop is a wonderfully curated collection of colorful goods ranging from jewelry to cushions to soaps to artwork. I LOVE this store so much.

What’s the main message you wish every girl between 10-14 years understood about themselves?

I have so many messages to share; it’s hard to give just one. 

Practice wellness every day

You are enough as you are, always. 

I would also add that having a wellness practice early on is a great way for girls to ground themselves through managing stress, anxiety, or depression. 

Getting into the habit of creating space to reflect on daily experiences and future goals establishes a sense of direction. It establishes a healthy sense of self-worth, and the ability to connect to your inner compass. 

These practices can come in the form of writing (especially journaling), drawing, meditating, reading encouraging messages, dancing, or listening to uplifting music.

Find or create a supportive tribe

Find a support system, a group of family members, friends, teachers, whom you can go to for guidance, and to share your dreams.

These should be people you can trust with intimate details about your life and who have your best interest at heart. 

Having this tribe is essential to navigating your journey, it helps us feel secure and empowered.

Prioritize your passion

Finally, make time for things that you love. 

Life can get busy with homework, after school activities, housework, and family time. 

Just make sure you can dedicate at least 15-30 minutes a day doing something that you bring you joy. This practice allows us to really live in the present moment. 

About Andrea Pippins

Andrea is an illustrator and author who has a passion for creating images that celebrate different standards of beauty; explores ideas of empowerment for women and girls; and highlights visual stories that are often overlooked.

With her celebratory and vibrant visual style, Pippins uses her work to propel her mission of empowering women and girls through creative expression. Andrea is based in Stockholm.

Connect with Andrea at https://andreapippins.com/

Pre-order her latest book (Avail 3 March 2020) Big Ideas for Young Thinkers here.

Author: Lisa Ferland

Lisa Ferland is the Assistant Editor of Slow Travel Stockholm and mother to one ninja warrior and one dancing firefly who often trade descriptions regularly. Follow her writing at lisaferland.com or on Instagram.

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