INTERVIEW: Anna Kortes of AK Studio
Where did you grow up and how did it influence what you do now in life?
I grew up in Northern Arizona mostly - my family moved around a lot, then settled in Prescott AZ. The outdoors were at the center of our life. Aesthetically, the native presence and spirit in that area of the Southwest was very impactful for me. Plus my mom is part Native American. We grew up feeling a lot of connection and respect to that energy and spent most of our leisure time exploring Arizona's beautiful lands, which I feel very lucky for! Always finding new hikes, swimming holes, rivers, hot springs - it was awesome. I love Arizona so much!
How about your folks, what did they do?
Dad is an independent motorcycle mechanic and quiet inventor-type. Mom is a natural artist / designer / entrepreneur with a ton of experience in the building, architecture & real estate industries.
How long have you been in Portland and how did you get here?
Moved to pdx in 2005 because the energy of the people & place resonated with me. A friend of mine introduced me to the thriving independent fashion / craft scene happening at that time. Coming from a small town where I was pretty much the only one I knew who was doing anything like that, I was super inspired - that was a major draw for me.
How did you start making jewelry? Did you find it or did it find you?
I grew up making a lot of things (and selling them) - jewelry was one of them that caught on stronger as I grew older and began to get interested in fashion and design in general. It was easy to make with endless possibilities. And wearable! And people wanted to buy it! I had my first wholesale account when I was 17 and it has grown from there. It just was the thing that made sense at the time and was happening naturally, so I went with it.
You have been focused on jewelry for many years, are you expanding into different areas?
Yes, finally! So happy to announce that I'll be expanding AK into decorative objects at the end of this month :) Also, the brand name is changing from AK Vintage to AK Studio. I'm very excited to be opening this door. It very much feels like the right time, even though I've been dreaming about it for years.
Where do you take inspiration from when you are creating your jewelry /objects?
Inspiration comes to me a lot in my imagination - I feel it's a collaboration between my own focus / interests and cosmic consciousness, so to speak. I receive a lot of my ideas in mental pictures and visualization. Also majorly in love with all kinds of art, architecture, ancient civilization design & symbology, mysticism... all these are major themes in the things I make.
Can you tell me about your car? It’s awesome. I can’t really picture you in any other car actually.
I love that you asked this question! Yes, that car is so badass and I feel so lucky that I get to drive it everyday! It's a 1984 Porsche 944 in black;) I visualized myself driving that exact car for about five years straight - I was kinda obsessed. I visualized for the fun, for the pleasure of it.. It was my dream car but I was not really thinking that it would be realistic for me. And then, by some magical circumstances - POOF! It is still surreal that it is no longer a dream. It is THE MOST fun to drive. Better than I had imagined;)
I love your natural intuition about proportion and weight with your jewelry. Is that something you have to think about for long or does it come quickly?
:) I have a strong feeling that guides this and it is not logic-based! haha It is very much intuitive - about shape and form and proportion... we've talked about sharing this in common! It comes quick and sure :) It's not a figuring it out kind of thing - You just know it already.
We have talked about doing a music video one day. I can’t wait. If copy-write infringement wasn’t a thing, what’s your dream music video tune?
Yesss! OMG - hardest question! Dream music tune would have to be narrowed down which I don't think I can do in this moment buttt it would probably be some really big, fun and expansive sounding electronic type of song:)) Like 'Jasmine' by Jai Paul or 'You' by Gold Panda...
How about a few more facts that I can’t think to ask you?
1. I look forward to:
- being a lady of leisure
- being a full time artist
- motorbiking across continents
2. Le grand mission behind what I do:
-to create something beautiful that benefits, inspires and expands one's experience and atmosphere - both inner and outer.
Anna's work can be found at akstudio.com