Ann Mari Sjögren, artist and painter. Fairy paintings by Ann Mari Sjögren Ann Mari Sjögren at work in her studio.

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A Visit to Ann Mari in Sweden

Myrea PettitMyrea Pettit and David Riché recently visited Sweden to meet the renowned fairy artist and painter Ann Mari Sjögren.
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 Here

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 Sjögren.

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.

Ann Mari and MyreaAll 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 anthologyThe Art of Faery 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.

Ann Mari at Work in her StudioThe 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 Skansen
February 4, 2004

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