Q+A — Paradise Co-Founder Annabel Hawkins
Annabel Hawkins (most people call me Bel)
Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa
Writer, poet, marketer, digital strategist - your quintessential millennial slashie.
Why do you create?
I’ve always been drawn to details and the story in things. I’ve been keeping notebooks since I could hold pens and open books because it's always felt like a… compulsion as opposed to a decision to 'make'. We couldn’t afford expensive art growing up so mum always encouraged us to make our own instead. I think there's something very magic in that spirit and have tried to carry it with me throughout my life.
What made you set up Paradise Press?
I think there are a lot of people out there making beautiful art who don't consider their work worthy of promoting. We wanted to make a platform that supported up-and-comers or people who create outside of their professional lives and make it accessible for people looking to decorate their lives.
What inspires you?
People from the fringes making it. People with great conviction in their ideas. Surprises. Good stories. Music with lyrics and riffs that make you want to play them over and over again. Female poets. Tarot card illustrations. Travelling.
What frustrates you?
Not feeling listened to. Political ignorance. Uncertain futures.
What’s a poignant moment in your creative life?
Getting my poetry book published when I was 23. It came as such a surprise and was an amazing opportunity to collaborate with my friend Alice (whose work you'll find in our first collection) who did all the design and typography. I had no idea what I was doing and I think there's something so raw and energising about that kind of naivety.
How do you work through a creative block?
God. They come all the time. I try to be patient with myself; get moving, go for a walk, do some yoga, listen to a different type of music. The best thing I've learned is to allow imperfection and for things to be ugly for a while. To let things cool down and return to them later.
Advice for anyone trying to make it in the creative industries?
Start making and give yourself a platform for that work to live on. Even if it's only your best friend reading it. Even if you don’t feel good enough or ready. Start now and do it over and over and over again. Believe in possibilities and seek them out wherever you can.