Painting in pink: UI student artist paints drunken mannerisms with a pink pop

Annika Walberg specializes in painting social gatherings, all that feature her favorite color: pink.


Abby Watkins

Annika Wahlberg poses for a portrait at her house on Tuesday, Feb.18, 2020.

Ashley Dawson, Arts Reporter


Annika Wahlberg didn’t like creating art at first. In fact, the University of Iowa senior was annoyed when she learned art classes were a requirement to complete her art history major. But after her first few classes, she fell in love.

“I’ve always liked art, but I thought I wanted to be an art historian,” Wahlberg said. “… Once I started taking [art classes], I actually liked them a lot more than I thought I would. Then I dropped my art history major and became an art major instead.”

Now, Wahlberg double majors in Italian and art with a minor in French. She specializes in painting gatherings, such as her friends’ parties that she goes to. Her process includes attending the parties and taking photographs of people interacting with one another in entertaining manners.

“I kind of have a weird process, because I have to go to parties and take pictures of people doing embarrassing stuff,” she said.

After leaving the party, Wahlberg goes through the pictures and decides on her favorites based on composition. Then, she prints them out and crops them with scissors. Occasionally, she said she will make a collage of the pictures she likes as well. Before starting the painting process, she covers her entire canvas in hot pink oil paint in order to create a strong background.

“I love pink. I like to see the back of the canvas come through the rest of the painting as a nice base,” Wahlberg said. “I think that because I paint parties, I like to use colors that make you feel like you’re disoriented, or like you’re drunk, and I feel like hot pink is just a very jarring color that you don’t expect to see.”

Wahlberg said her work is especially inspired by the founder of Create Magazine, Ekaterina Popva, who frequently talks about her experiences being a woman in the creative field. She said the UI art faculty also artistically inspire her.

Made from oil paints, her favorite painting to date is a piece on an oval canvas, consisting of two people, her friend and that friends’ boyfriend at a party, one teaching the other how to use a bong. In the painting, an onlooker can clearly see the bright pink shining through the background.

“I think it just represents womanhood and power, and I thought it was very funny. I like to make art that’s funny,” she said.

Aside from painting, Wahlberg also enjoys doing other crafts that involve using her hands. She takes pleasure in making earrings as well as knitting, which began early on. In fifth grade, she knitted herself a bunny backpack.

Her other favorite hobby is learning about languages and improving her fluency in languages.

“I’m basically majoring in my hobbies,” she said with a smile on her face.

Despite the fact that Wahlberg is fairly new to painting in her life, her talent and ambition are growing in the field. With hopes of working at Civitella Ranieri, a residency program in Italy, Wahlberg continues to let herself bloom artistically.

“I’d like to work in museums, but I think it’d be nice to work at the art residency,” she said.

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