Ann Sullivan ’06 has been moving around the country for as long as she can remember. Born in St. Louis, she went to high school in Bangor, Maine, and now lives in Texas. After graduating from John Bapst Memorial High School, Sullivan followed her older sister, as she says she always has, to Bowdoin College.
“I figured if it was good enough for her, it was good enough for me,” she said.
A visual arts major, Sullivan concentrated mostly on drawing during her time at the College. She was also involved with the Orient and studied abroad in Barcelona.
After graduating, Sullivan went to nursing school. However, she kept making art as a hobby, occasionally designing wedding announcements for friends. Then her brother, a web designer, suggested she make a website.
“I got a website, and suddenly my hobby turned into something more without putting much into it,” said Sullivan.
About a year ago, she began illustrating for the website HelloGiggles, an online community for women founded by Zooey Deschanel, Molly McAleer and Sophia Rossi. It was Rossi who recommended Sullivan’s work to Gallery1988 Melrose & Venice, a pop-culture art gallery based out of Los Angeles. The gallery then invited Sullivan to contribute to their Young Adult exhibition this February.
“It was a nostalgic take on ’90s teen theme literature,” she said. The show is Sullivan’s first public exhibition of her work.
Sullivan had four pieces on display at Gallery1988 illustrating characters from Sullivan’s teen obsession, the book series The Baby-Sitter’s Club. So far she has sold two pieces, titled “Kristy” and “Mary Anne.”
Sullivan’s art has a distinctly “doodle-like” feel, enhanced by her use of colored pencil and ink as mediums.
“I like to have reasonably priced art work that is accessible,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan’s laidback philosophy is well illustrated by her colorful and vibrant artistic style.
“I like fun and silly doodling, coloring,” she said. “I just like to make people happy.”
Sullivan says the nicest compliment she’s ever received is that her artwork has “personality.”
Although Sullivan was not able to make it to Los Angeles to see the show herself, having a show at a gallery like Gallery1988 has still had a huge impact on her. Sullivan found herself star-struck when Kate Micucci of the musical comedy duo Garfunkle and Oates took note of “Our Founding Four-Sitters.”
“I was like, ‘Garfunkle and Oates took a picture in front of my stuff!’” she said.
The show also includes artwork based on Nancy Drew, the Goosebumps series, and Sweet Valley High.
Sullivan credits Bowdoin with preparing her for what it’s like to be an artist in the real world. Sullivan says that exposure to the Bowdoin Museum of Art and art shows coordinated with Professor of Art Mark Wethli gave her first-hand experience early.
“There are a lot of real world applications for art at Bowdoin,” she said. “It’s a lot of practice and a leg up if you want to do something after college.”
Though she still plans on becoming a nurse, Sullivan says her experience with Gallery1988 has opened her eyes to other possibilities.
“It’s allowing me to think of myself as more than an artist as a hobby,” she said.
She still keeps in touch with Wethli, and keeps herself up-to-date on her fellow graduates’ work through Facebook.
“I see all the art things that my friends are doing,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan also maintains her relationship with the College by selling postcards of her artwork through the College Bookstore.
“Young Adult” was on display at Gallery1988: Melrose from February 2 to 23.