Artist Spotlight - Annika Tova
Dr. Albert Frankenstein
a.k.a. Annika Tova
Visionary artist Annika Tova creates unique, hand-painted clothing experiments and eccentric art. In this artist spotlight, we take a step into her world and discuss her unconventional style, social media, vintage clothing, and more.
Q: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. You have such a unique style that we love -- what inspires you and your art the most? Where do you draw inspiration from?

Fluorescent copulatory plugs in drosophila - ha!

Nature is perfection. She has so many secrets. She is so beautiful and so bizarre, completely coherent and completely contradictory. With the right eyes and ears, the natural world can transport you to ethereal dreamlands, burning pits of doom, super alien worlds.

Of course, I’m inspired by relationships. Like everyone else, I’m affected by those universal aspects of the human experience. You know, like love, sex, jealousy, insecurity, stuff like that. How could you not be inspired by someone ripping your heart out and smashing it into a billion little pieces?

I’m also inspired by the dusty corners and overlooked spaces around me. For better or worse, Los Angeles is an island of very unique sights, smells, textures, and flavors. It might be haunted. It might be enchanted. The landscape is as diverse as the people. It can be absurd. It can be dramatic. You can see anything, from some cute new Tiktok transplants disappearing into a cave’s mouth in Griffith Park to Batman and Jack Sparrow having a fist fight on Hollywood Blvd to saber tooth cats attacking woolly mammoths at the La Brea Tar Pits. And that’s not really even scratching the surface. The deeper you delve the more surreal it gets, but that’s an entirely different story and I’ve already been long-winded and I don’t want to bore you—so onto the next question!

Q: What was your initial vision for your business?

I didn’t have any expectations whatsoever. The only thing I knew from the start was I needed to create some sort of system that would allow me to keep my creative endeavors genuine. Balancing the business and creative aspects was going to be critical.

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Q: How did your career in fashion and art begin?

In all honesty, it sort of just happened. I never had aspirations to pursue art or fashion as a career whatsoever. While I have always loved art, film, literature, etc just for fun, my academic path had been laser focused on natural science since I was a young teenager. Biology, genetics, and medicine—that’s all I thought about. Towards the final stretch of that career path in college, I had to confront the difficult fact that somewhere along the line, I must’ve made a wrong turn. I was seeking something that just wasn’t there. It wasn’t a path that would allow me to live an authentic life of contentment.

In that moment of disillusionment, I not only felt I had essentially lost a chunk of my identity, but some additional, very sudden and serious family and health life changes just tumbled like dominos and I had no choice but learn to adjust to it all rather quickly. It felt like someone had pulled the rug out from under me - a lot of what I perceived as certain and stable was not so. It was too much at once for me and I wasn’t really okay.

During that really low period, painting was literally the only thing that got me through each day. I woke up so I could paint. It was the only thing I had any desire to do. As ridiculous as it sounds, I basically sat completely alone on my bedroom floor and just painted all day, every day for a year straight. I can’t say I would ever want to be back in that place emotionally again, but I can say it was the best thing that ever happened to me. As dark and incredibly isolated as it was, that time and space allowed me to reflect without the interference of judgement.

That degree of isolation definitely isn’t for everybody, but the quiet that came with it gave me the opportunity to see things as they really are. Reality can become so warped in the midst of all the noise. It is easy for toxic elements to flow through you undetected. I didn’t even realize how badly I had been neglecting my mental health until my neat little constructed life cascaded and fell apart and all of my inner demons were exposed. They no longer had walls to hide behind.

So, I guess I would say art and fashion as a career was really a consequence, a very lucky side effect, of a really dark time.

Q: What made you decide to start your business on Instagram and Depop?

My first experience on Depop was actually as a buyer. I happened to see this dope Melt-Banana tee and I had to have a look. I spent some time on the app and it became pretty clear that the Depop community appreciated all kinds of unsung art and styles. Now that I am on Depop as a seller, I really have come to appreciate that even more. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but in my experience, it has been an organic community with more inclusivity, expression, and diversity than a lot of other platforms. As a social space, I think it accomplishes the difficult task of balancing cultural and artistic value with that of the transactional. As a peer-to-peer platform, there is a lot more room for discovery. It’s a lot of fun.

Also, vintage / reworked / second life clothing = super eco-friendly.

Instagram - what can I say that has not already been said - it’s amazing to be able to connect with anyone, discover new independent artists, and share your own stuff on your own terms. Social media can be a blessing or a curse. It’s all about how you choose to consume it.

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Q: What draws you to vintage clothing? Is there a reason you choose to incorporate mainly vintage pieces in your work?

I love to collect knicknacks—odd doodads, curiosities, useless objects— things that many people may not regard as being particularly valuable. My first coherent vintage curation art project began with McDonald’s trinkets and evolved to include vintage McDonald’s clothing and accessories. Those golden arches became my material access point into a vortex of hell. Ronald McDonald was my Virgil.

Q: How do you source the vintage pieces that you rework?

eBay, Depop, and second-hand shop thrifting! I love the thrill of finding strange treasures. I love being transported to otherworldly realms.

I discovered an incredibly abundant, rare aesthetic scattered throughout the abyss of eBay. A sort of industrial-complex casual — matching orange and blue Boeing pullovers, a Qualcomm button up, a cow print AT&T baseball cap, an embroidered TRW satin varsity jackets in the most luscious cherry red shade I have ever laid eyes upon. Very magical stuff.

I found, and still find, a great delight in the actual process of hunting down these unique pieces and collecting the material artifacts, promo, and merch of the various industrial complexes defining our world. Taken together, these garments may begin to weave a story. It is not a linear story by any means. It doesn’t have a clear path. It’s complicated. It’s a puzzle.

Q: Can you take us through your creative process? What does it take for you to get from an initial idea to a finished piece of work?

My creative process depends on the type of work I’m doing. My approach mirrors whatever a particular project calls for. Some creative processes are slow and planned, others are not.

Automatic painting is pretty explosive. You just uncork your mind and let everything fountain out. No filtering or restraint allowed. That applies to both the paint style, as in the way you lay the paint down on the fabric, as well as the content. The experience is haptic, haphazard and disorienting. You very well could end up with a disaster in your hands. It’s all about the energy.

With projects like Cosmic Source, it’s still all about the energy, but the approach is methodical and careful.

Q: Has your creative process changed over time? Do you feel you have changed or grown as an artist over the years?

I love learning, so I am always absorbing new information, ideas, and techniques and I think that can definitely be seen in my work. That being said, at the core, my work is always about seeking truth in whatever form it takes. There is nothing better for the soul than pursuing a genuine creative endeavor. I’m serious about the work, but I don’t take anything seriously.


While what inspires me to create is in a constant state of flux, my actual process hasn’t changed much at all since I was 5 and started making art. The process is always an act of contained chaos. It is some type of experiment. I have multiple projects going at a time. If I’m working on a project and I’m just not feeling it, I move on to something else rather than try to force it. I incorporate lots of different styles, tools, and canvas types too. I don’t want my approach to become lazy or the work to become stale.

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Q: What is your favorite part of being creative and owning your own business?

The best part of having my own business and being able to be creative as my job is the sense of freedom I get. I can create whatever I want without anyone trying to control it - of course it’s also the hardest part - I have to be the one who sets the terms.

Q: What advice would you give to young artists who are struggling with creativity and finding their own artistic styles?

I’m not really sure I’m qualified to give out advice here as I don’t really know what the hell I’m talking about…but here is some wisdom or nonsense to live by:

  • You won’t find the right answer if you don’t first find the right question.
  • That being said, always ask dumb questions.
  • Always have a serious sense of humor.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others.
  • Skill and technique are important, but without that divine spark, it’s just mechanical.
  • No one can look away from a madman on a mission.
  • Listen more.
  • Slow down.
  • If you can inspire a question, you have done your job.
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Artist Spotlight - Dan Isaac Bortz T-Shirt
Artist Spotlight - Dan Isaac Bortz T-Shirt
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Artist Spotlight - Dan Isaac Bortz Hoodie
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Artist Spotlight - Dan Isaac Bortz Sweatpants
Artist Spotlight - Dan Isaac Bortz Sweatpants
Artist Spotlight - Dan Isaac Bortz Sweatpants