In Her Shoes: Annika Hein

St. Agni recently spoke with Annika Hein, the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of JANE magazine. JANE has evolved into something more than a magazine, it's a community centred around a shared sentiment for challenging consumption through creative practices and shared desire for slowing down. For this edition of In Her Shoes, we get a glimpse into Annika’s daily practices as a Mother and the place of print publishing in a digital landscape. 

In your own words can you tell us what you do…
I am the founder and editor of JANE magazine, a writer, and multi-disciplinary creative. I create imagery and write poems, prose, and essays about things worth celebrating, things worth fighting for: slow processes, artistic contributions, ideas around community, and ways to see differently. Through an exploration of art, fashion, philosophy, and culture I consider what we’re doing and what we know in an effort to document, interpret, and understand where we’re going. My work explores and questions the way we’re creating, interacting, and consuming in an effort to perhaps offer an alternative observation that’s guided toward the preservation of art and artfulness in life.

What was the journey that got you to where you are now?
I was born in Perth, Western Australia. We moved around quite a lot for the first part of my childhood and I think that element of fluidity allowed me to be quite adaptive in my adult life and to have an explorative sense of home life and what that looks like. I’ve always been really inspired by discovering new environments and challenging the traditional archetypes of what’s required to feel safe and settled.

As a child I began exploring different creative mediums as a way to document and understand the world around me—writing poems, making and collecting lists, keeping notebooks, taking photographs—and I suppose this practice not only continued into my adult life but also shaped the intention of my creative work. The element of recording and keeping a personal archive has always been really important to me; I gain a lot of inspiration from revisiting these memories, understanding and interpreting them as past but vital versions of myself.

In the past few years I’ve really started to develop my voice and be more considered in the type of work I create and how it aligns to my personal values. For me, it’s about really slowing down, looking at the world in a particular—mostly abstract—way, and offering that point of view for others to engage with in a purposely-poetic format. There’s never been an agenda or a motif behind my work, other than creating out of love and proposing a different way to view and engage with the world. Art as an act of hope is really my main focus.

What does a typical morning look like for you and do you have any rituals?
I have a one-year-old daughter, Vahla Inès, so in the past twelve months I’ve really had to let go of ridged routines and rituals and surrender instead to being guided by her rhythm. There are few practices I try to commit to daily, but the order and logistics of how they are completed pivots constantly.

At the moment it goes a little like this:
Vahla and I will wake up around 7am. I scrape my tongue and drink some hot water while reading or playing with Vahla and waiting for Odin, my partner, to get home from his run. Then I’ll go and do Pilates or yoga, some breath work, and meditate, and then we make breakfast. After that I take Vahla and Arlo on big trail walk and we get home just in time for Vahla’s first nap, which is when I turn my phone off airplane mode, check my emails, have a coffee, and sit down to do some work.

JANE speaks to challenging the dialogue around consumption, what impact do you hope to have on the industry?
The intention behind JANE was always to become more than a magazine. Over the past four years we’ve shaped it to be a slow art movement, something that goes beyond the pages and champions an overarching change in artistic and creative consumption and conception. This community is something that we’re very proud of and my hope is that both the publication and the movement can act as a support system that works to unite us through words and art while we explore alternative versions, and speeds, of consumption.

A key motive behind starting JANE was to create a movement that was in some way responsible for slowing things down, a movement that would allow people to once again consume art intentionally, and more importantly allow those creating the art to do so authentically, with artistic merit and integrity.

Art for art’s sake. A humbling idea for sure, but one that presents itself as an imperative for growth, both for the society and the artist. Art that—regardless of any personal definition of the term or individual opinion of what in fact constitutes something’s place in the realm—promises to provoke us, to move us, to make us think differently, and to propel us forward. Art that occupies a different dimension, speaking in a language for which most are yet to learn the alphabet. Art that simply just is, created by artists who simply just were. 

We are living in a climate that is challenging traditional media and publications; however, JANE continues to take print form, why is this
Because I still believe there is an important, albeit complicated, place for print publishing. Despite our digital and technological advancements, we still live in the physical word, art is still being produced in the physical world, we still walk and talk and eat and dance in the physical world. Yes, we may be able to work and write and read and consume online, but at its essence a “magazine” and what it represents is something that, in my opinion, needs to be held. Olivier Zahm, co-founder of Purple Magazine put it so perfectly, he said, “What does it mean, doing a magazine today? It’s a very complicated question. To me, a magazine is an open space: it’s a landscape. And today, people don’t look at landscapes—they look at images, at fragmented images. Their need for pictures is endless. And with each picture, the time is disintegrated. When you edit a magazine you don’t destroy, you don’t deconstruct, or you don’t disintegrate the time—you open it, you open the time, you give a perspective. This is what people call vision.”

I think a big misconception within the publishing realm is that digital platforms replaced the need for printed ones and I completely disagree with this notion. The intention and content of the print sector needed to change that’s all.

However I think it’s also important to remember that with the rise of digital media also came the rise in fast fashion, content creation, overconsumption, and overproduction. We created a need new now culture, one that was impatient and unable to wait, and the digital sphere seemed to support this addiction in a far more instantaneous way than print media ever could. JANE was a direct response and dedication to this acknowledgement and the need to slow things down within an industry that was, and still is in many ways, set to super speed.

I also don’t feel like there any many digital spaces or online magazines that are providing a truly immersive experience for their readers, something that compliments and supports the purpose of print. This is something we’re working on for JANE this year and something that I’m really excited to build and nurture.

If you were to give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be?
Feel it all, never apologise for your sensitivity, and keep writing.

On the flip side, what was the best piece of advice you have been given?
Find your voice, your vision, your intention, and stand really strong in upholding, protecting, and representing that idea.  

In an alternate world, what would you be doing?
Perhaps something within the realms of holistic psychology, ayurvedic medicine, or art history.

What has inspired your own personal style?
Comfort, quality, and a sense of commitment to sustainability. I would consider myself a uniform dresser and tend to steer clear of the expectation that new clothes should be considered a routine purchase