I realize these artist biographies are supposed to be in 3rd person, but that feels ridiculous, so, here I am. I’m Annie Lou. I am a visual artist, social experimenter, organizer, dreamer and performer based out of New Orleans, Louisiana. I spend much of my time in New Orleans, curating an art gallery and community space within my home, and the rest of the time traveling the world seeking out adventures, ideas and stories from both friends and strangers across every inch of the globe. I am a sucker for a good story, and I enjoy sharing my own through art. I have built and maintain several community projects as well as ongoing art projects and social experiments, several of which are mentioned here.
About My Art
My art is created to provoke thought, and sometimes nostalgia or comfort, and to spark some kind of emotion in those who experience it. Most of it appears playful at surface level, and can be enjoyed as such, and should be, if that is what the viewer wants out of it, or explored more deeply for often a significantly more poignant meaning. My preferred mediums are acrylic paint, gouache, cardboard, papier mache and felt.
At home, I create, and those creations are usually put on display in my home gallery. While traveling, I create, and those original creations are sent to friends and donors all over the world. I write postcards and letters every day, and am delighted to have discovered Patreon as another portal through which to reach other humans and share art.
The Spaghetti Speakeasy
I have an art gallery in my home which is designed to shine a light on lesser known or underrepresented artists and to provide a creative space for a community of artists- whether it be visual art, music, poetry, performance art, etc., to gather with one another and share ideas. The idea is that artists are able to debut new material, and musicians are given a room and an audience where they are able to introduce a project that may be something other than what they perform normally or are better known for. There is a library full of classic literature, poetry and otherwise wonderful and interesting books which also features literature written by friends and inspirational people within my giant creative community. I am also working on building up a collection of international books for travelers.
The Secret Circus
The Secret Circus is a global collective of artists of all mediums. There are neither restrictions nor hierarchies, only brainstorming, collaboration and production. This collective is made up of painters, writers, graphic designers, photographers, dancers, musicians, poets, filmmakers, illustrators and performers representing 10+ American cities and 11+ countries around the globe. Our goal is to bring strong artistic minded individuals together to create an unstoppable network of creativity, with simultaneous projects happening at all times all over the world.
Slow Dances With Strangers
I spend the summer season traveling, and during that time I use my art and my curiosity for humanity, communication, intimacy and social norms to construct projects that are part art installations and part social experiments. For one of these projects, I travel with a small portable record player; I call it the slow dance machine, and offer slow dances to strangers in the street. For me it is a way to communicate on a level that resonates more deeply than words. Dancing is its own language, and if the mechanics aren’t right, that is if communication isn’t strong, it doesn’t work. If both parties are not truly physically present, it doesn’t work. My goal with each slow dance is to learn how to adapt, with each dance, as quickly as possible in a way that allows the stranger and myself to experience this intimate conversation of sorts, by flowing together seamlessly but seldom actually speaking. Often my dance partner and I do not share a common language, and it is beautiful to be able to communicate in spite of this. I simply want to share the message: Slow down. Make time for each other. Even if it’s only for the duration of a song. Make time to truly share a moment. Take the time to give and take, push and pull, until you find your rhythm with someone, be it someone familiar or a stranger.
I have a blog called Slow Dances With Strangers where I post stories about my adventures with the slow dance machine and I hope to someday write a book with the same title.
Apart from slow dances with strangers in the street, there are other pieces of art and nostalgia that I leave scattered wherever I go. In one project that I call “Tiny Love Letters”, I write intimate words of comfort and compassion on a tiny piece of paper, or sometimes on a napkin or train ticket, depending on my resources at that particular moment, hide them in a tiny handmade envelope, seal it with wax, create a little stamp, and hide it for some unsuspecting stranger to later find. The idea began with what seemed at the time like an epidemic of unrequited love. I wanted to share my sentiments, as well as those of others who had experienced or were experiencing similar heartache in a way that would both allow those sentiments to be received and impact the world in a small but significant way. The words are meant to be powerful because the feelings are real, and though the recipient of those words isn’t the person for whom they were originally intended, the thought is that those words will be more warmly received if unexpectedly by a stranger, and that that stranger will be touched.