Wall of Art
The Story behind
What started in an apartment in Midsommarkransen in early autumn 2017 was transformed into a platform and meeting place for current creators where passion for art and interior design meet in a curated collection of original posters. Wall of Art aims high and wants to become the go-to place for art and art prints. Staying on top of things and keeping up with the latest trends is on the daily schedule. Meet Annika, Nicklas and Matilda, part of the team behind Wall of Art. Read more about their roles and strengths.
BY KAROLINA BORG PHOTO MIRA WICKMAN
"We were determined that we wanted to make a change and let creative souls focus on what they are best at - to create," says Annika Hultgren, CEO and co-founder of Wall of Art
Hey, Annika! How are you?
– I dare say pretty good. We're on full throttle with lots of exciting projects ahead for fall and winter. We’re also thrilled that fall is here, that it’s dark and rainy, the best time of the year, haha.
How did it all get started, and where are you today?
– The idea of Wall of Art was born when Nicklas and I bought our first apartment together in Stockholm. I’m really passionate about interior design, and my first project was to turn our large, empty wall into an eclectic gallery wall of paintings. However, I had a hard time finding unique and affordable pieces that are different from what everyone else has. After a lot of searching, Nicklas encouraged me to start creating my own artwork for the wall instead. So, in the end, I decided to pick up the paintbrush and paint some paintings. Then Nicklas started to ponder if maybe others would like to see my art prints on their walls. But we realized that the entire process around production, logistics and marketing takes time to do by yourself.
We were determined that we wanted to make a change for and let creative souls focus on what they do best – to create. Combining our expertise in curation, packaging and distribution, we saw an opportunity to help creators reach a wider audience simply and effectively. It felt very natural for us to create a platform that elevates artists in an exclusive way, and where design enthusiasts can buy original print art by on-point creators that don’t cost a fortune.
How do you choose the artists you work with?
– Nowadays, we’re contacted daily by creators who want to be part of our team, which is absolutely fantastic! We always have an eye out in all possible channels for new talent using different mediums – everything from painting to graphic design and photography. While we’re constantly scouting out new artists, we decided to limit the number of creators we collaborate with to guarantee that the ones we work with get the exposure they need. This also means that our offering is highly curated. When we bring in new creators, our ambition is to make a solid whole together. For us, it’s essential that the motifs work well together and that the colors can be combined. We’re striving to build a strong team that can develop through Wall of Art and create art projects together.”
We want to know everything about the three of you. Annika, who are you?
– I’m a happy, creative soul who grew up in Värmland. Several years ago, I packed my bags and moved to Stockholm, where I found my better half, who’s also from Värmland. Nowadays, Nicklas and I live south of Stockholm and run Wall of Art together – it’s our baby and it just keeps growing and growing, an incredible feeling!
Wall of Art gives me so much of an outlet to be who I am, everything from taking things from idea to implementation, to working with color and shape. As a child, I used to put on shows and loved to paint. But that waned during my teenage years, and it was really only when I met Nicklas that the idea for Wall of Art came about, and I really found my place. Now I am my job. My work gives me an outlet for both my creative and social sides, as I get to meet loads of creative souls with whom I see eye to eye. When I’m not working, I spend time with my friends and enjoy late dinners. I love delving into all of life’s big questions and singing out loud to Peter Lemarc’s “Little Willie John”, which all my friends can confirm!
Sounds wonderful! What’s your role in the company, and what are your strengths?
– I’ve many different roles. But my title is CEO, which is reflected in that I’m a true visionary and very passionate about the company. I’m an emotionally-driven, energetic person who trusts my gut feeling 100%. Since the day Wall of Art started, I’ve been convinced that we fill a gap in the market. Now, four years on, seeing how much our hard work is appreciated and how our creators’ work adorns so many homes – that’s indescribably huge and amazing.
My strength is that I’m full of ideas and have an eye for detail in everything we do. On a day-to-day basis, I’d say that I work more as a creative director, with overall responsibility for our creators, product range, marketing – you name it. I’m extremely passionate about Wall of Art’s development, and my artistic side is reflected in our work. I love discussing how to further develop Wall of Art and create more opportunities and exposure for our creators, helping them grow as artists.
Nicklas and Annika, you just got married. What’s working together like?
– It’s incredibly fun, exciting, educational and of course challenging at the same time. At first, it was difficult to distinguish between work and private life. But today, we’ve created our very own lifestyle together, a journey that is constantly filled with new challenges and fulfilment. Wall of Art is such a big part of our lives today that it’s hard to imagine what not working together would be like. There’s an enormous sense of security in having your partner beside you on the journey. And creating visions together, both for Wall of Art and our personal lives, is great fun. Actually, everybody should probably set “company goals” for their personal lives. It’s so easy to just let time fly by, not knowing where you’re headed. We learn so much from each other, and all the challenges we face make us a stronger team.
Thanks for sharing with us! So, Matilda, who are you?
– Gosh, strangely enough, it’s so hard to describe oneself. But I’m a tall, very happy, humble and creative person who grew up in Skåne. I ended up in Stockholm a year ago, after landing my dream role at Wall of Art. Stockholm wasn’t in my plans at all, but when Annika came calling, it was an easy decision to make, and now the capital city is my new hometown, and I love it. When I’m not hanging out in our fantastic office, I spend far too many hours on Instagram, looking for inspiration, drinking wine and eating good food, dancing to techno and spending lots of time with the world’s best friends. I love, love, love Christmas; I’m like a child. I start listening to Christmas music in early November – no shame!
If I won 100 million today, I’d spend it all on travel. There’s nothing that gives me as much adrenalin as being on my way somewhere, preferably to a hot climate. Part of the money would go to a house in Majorca too. I eat everything, absolutely everything, except for Kalles Kaviar, and my favorite candy is salt licorice and Zoo jellies.
What’s your role in the company, and what are your strengths?
– The most fun, haha! I get to create all the content for our social media channels, travel around doing photoshoots, build photo boards, visit interesting people, manage our collabs, and, together with Annika, plan projects and campaigns that we want to start, which is basically every other day. I’ve enormous freedom in my role, which I realize is vital to my creative side, and I’m incredibly grateful to my bosses for that. Before I started at Wall of Art, I was a freelance interior designer, something I think is a big advantage in my current role. I have an eye for detail and dare to say that I have a good feel for what works and dare to challenge the classic and expected. I have good intuition.
I enjoy challenging work and being part of the whole process, from hatching an idea to seeing it come to life, that’s incredibly satisfying. My job has become a big part of me; I love it. Then it has the added perks of having some of your best friends beside you in the office, and two absolutely fantastic bosses. It’s just amazing to think of how everything turned out.
That sounds amazing. What makes you such a good team?
– We’ve been working together for four years now, and we complement each other very well in that we’re so different. I’m a visionary, and Nicklas is a realist. Naturally, we clash at times, but that’s exactly how we managed to make Wall of Art a reality. I wouldn’t have made it without Nicklas, and neither would he, without me. Both of us have an enormous capacity for hard work and always give 100%. Since we started the company together, we have a profound understanding of what it takes to get to where we want to go.
Matilda: – I believe that our greatest advantage is that we are all hungry. We want to achieve the same goal and are all driven to succeed in different ways. We are a strong, tight, team with room for different opinions, which is important to me. If we are to get where we want to go, we have to be able to discuss, question and turn things inside out without it becoming personal. I think we’re good at spurring each other on, while being extremely careful about listening to and respecting our individual challenges. We complement each other, we laugh a lot, and we work hard.
Nicklas, what is your role in the company?
My role is quite fluid and I am interested in many things. Right now, my main focus is on developing our website and finding new inspiring features and customizable elements that will keep us at the forefront and keep us updated on the rapid development that is taking place in e-commerce. I like new challenges, which I really get an outlet for in Wall of Art. I also have the luxury of meeting so many phenomenally creative and talented people through my job, which is hugely inspiring.
Describe a day at the office?
– No two days are the same, which we all love. The office has become our second home, and we all love being there. We have a whole lot of fun together, which means our days are interspersed with lots of laughter, creative meetings, planning and discussions.
What’s your next step? What are your plans?
– Thinking about the future gives us butterflies. Today, we’re working with more than sixty creators, primarily active in Sweden. And now we’ve begun to invest heavily in introducing Wall of Art in Europe, adding more international creators. Our core mission is to elevate up-and-coming artists in an exclusive way, focusing on inspiration, editorial content and unconventional collabs. We have so many exciting ideas in the pipeline that you’ll definitely be seeing more of!
What are your dreams?
– We dream about seeing Wall of Art evolving even more and continuing to grow globally. Our aim is to stay at the forefront of our industry and be top of mind for creators worldwide. The potential for Wall of Art to make a difference for creators is enormous, and we look forward to expanding our in-house team to be part of and contribute to that journey!