Annabelle Mann is a traveling crystal artist from Escondido, California with a little blue bus and an inspiring view of the world around her.
Who are you?
"Anna B from the Tree! AKA Annabelle Gabriel Mann."
How would you describe yourself to someone?
"Shit... this is always hard for me because I feel like I have so many pieces of me. I've never felt like I'm from 'here'. I've always felt different from everyone else. I'm like half super super feminine & half super super masculine. Some days you could catch me in a striped tee, cords, Adidas and a beanie with a blunt in my ear, listening to Tribe Called Quest, writing rhymes, eating french fries, & playing hacky sack. And then other days you can catch me in a dress, or more likely... naked, barefoot, drinking a green smoothie, listening to Erykah Badu, lighting my incense, doing yoga, drinking some peppermint tea, doing a face mask & listening to a Terence McKenna podcast.
And some days that's blended. Either way I'm always cruising my baby blue '84 VW bus, creating crystal art and overflowing with too many thoughts to speak and too much love to express. I've always gone against the grain since day one. I like spending time with myself more than anyone. I feel like I could say so many things about myself but truly I'm just a make-up of all things which came before me, all the experiences, humans, plants and beyond all shoved into this tiny little human vessel."
How did you get started with the kind of art that you make?
"I've always loved making art since I was a tiny little boo and my mom used to bring me to a bead store and let me design and make necklaces for myself. My dad has always had crystals around too, and I always was attracted to them. But about two and a half years ago I decided to just try out wire wrapping and it kinda started to roll from there. Everywhere I travel I get inspired by the jewelry styles, the gems and minerals that are native to those lands. When I was backpacking through Asia I saw a ton of dope wire work, mainly brass. And then when I was cruising Israel, there was mad natural stone jewels and I always collect stones and crystals where ever I mob and allow my fingers to tell a story through weaving wire."
Your wire-wrapping art is so unique, what has been your biggest inspiration behind your work?
"I am mostly inspired by patterns I see in nature, dope rhymes, and good books. I get inspired by the shapes of the stones and crystals I am working with. And also people's colors. Like each individual human has their own sets of colors to me, and some stones are just for them. I don't really know how to explain it. But it feels like this divine energy flows through me, as if it's tool, so I almost never know how my pieces are gonna turn out when I begin. Oh, and André 3000's lyrical genius inspires me in too many ways."
Do you ever hit a creative block when creating art?
"Sometimes I get a stone or a crystal that is a shape I've never worked with before and that sometimes stumps me for a bit. Like, 'how do you want to be represented'? But usually when I start my flow there's no stopping, I go till I finish. Or if I have been creating all day & it gets to be around 4-5 o'clock sometimes I'm just like, 'I'm done. I need to chomp something good. I can't do my art anymore', so I listen to that and just take a break."
What do you do to get over that?
"Usually I'll find a song that makes me feel funky & light some Nag Champa, chug down some H20, and meditate with whatever crystal or stone I'm having a hard time flowing with and let IT show me what it wants and what weaves to use."
What does positivity look like to you?
"Positivity looks like a balance of colors. Positivity looks like checking yourself before you wreck yourself. It means remaining present, which allows you to remain appreciative and grateful for each individual moment you are in. We've been conditioned to believe certain things are "bad" and certain things are "good" and to act accordingly. But have you ever wondered if you could shift those boundaries within? Every experience is something to push you forward, give you a better understanding of yourself and the world around you and to be able to empathize deeply with our other earth inhabitants. If that's not super dope, I don't know what is."
How do you deal with days that feel darker than others?
"Ever since I was young like 6 or 7 I can remember having days that I refused to get out of bed cause I had the eternal long search of "why are we here", and if I don't have the answer, then why should I live any longer. I still have dark days but I have filled my toolbox to the brim and continue to overflow it. Now, when I question, I find joy in searching for the answer. I get up. Put on a dope jam. Drink some water, maybe get like a little extra hyped up on caffeine, and get outside and MOVE. Get out of my head and into my body. I always write a list of things I need to get done and start. I eat food that nourishes my mind, body, and soul. And most of all, I remind myself that my 'darkness' is one of the most beautiful parts of myself. That darkness allows me to empathize and heal others. It's a huge contributor to my art, my humor, and why I love so deeply and so fully. And also why the light feels like nirvana when I cruise back towards it."
If you could go back and give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
"Stop worrying about what other people think of you, say about you, or doubt in you. Shut off the other voices and turn up the volume on your intuition. Spend more time alone and more time with your family. You're dope, smart, funny, unique and beautiful; even when you don't feel like it. Oh, and stop comparing yourself to others because you have a dope perspective and a dope mind and just because other humans can't quite get to the depth to appreciate it yet, doesn't mean it's wrong or weird."
What makes you happy to be alive?
"Life dude. Life makes me happy. Holding hands, touching tongues, laughing, admiring. The fact that we literally breathe oxygen that comes from all the plants around us and drink this clear liquid we call water. That earth creates colors that we can see. COLORS! Orange, and yellow, and pink, and deep deep purples and burnt orange and brown AND green! And like what the fuck look up... the sky, THE SKY. Have you seen a sunrise or sunset or clouds shape shift or the stars or the sun or the moon?! Music. How quickly can music change your whole world around? All sounds. Like if you snorkel near a sea turtle, you can hear them munch on sea plant life. I get to taste watermelon and smell patchouli and lavender and even BO. Dogs! Cute dogs with squishy faces and floppy ears. And humans, man.... humans. To observe a human. Wow. You are all so damn cute, and cool and dope when you are just being. When you're not thinking about what someone else is thinking and you're just fully being and doing life. And the fact that I have a cognitive brain to even explore the ideas I have. I could go on forever. So many things make me happy. Life is so cool if you choose to look at it that way. And even if you don't, it's still undeniably dope."
Is there any additional message you would like to share?
"Damn I love talking and sharing I want to share everything. Lately I've been stuck on this: don't let fear guide. Meaning, live without fear of judgment. Be true to YOU. Don't do something just because your friends are or because your parents told you it's the right way or because it's what society says is the cookie-cutter bullshit you should be shoved into. If you can imagine it to be possible, it is. Go live. I promise you, you were not put here on earth to go to school, get a job, pay for a house that you never get to enjoy, work till you're old, spend money on bullshit you don't need and then die. No fucking way. Not possible. You were put here to get naked and dance under the moonlight, bungee jump, shave your dome, cruise around earth and expand your brain, have sex, laugh, hike, climb, create a life you're stoked as fuck to wake up to everyday, and explore your world inner and outer in ANY WAY YOU SEE FIT. And don't for one moment think that just because the majority of society judges it, that you can't do it."
"Live your life dudes. You only got one. And when you're on your death bed, you're not gonna give a shit about what clothes you wore, how much money you made, what car you drove, if you looked good at that party, nothing. LIVE IT UP! It's your life."