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Artist Spotlight: Annika Koser - The Stackhouse Printery

Artist Spotlight: Annika Koser


Hi, I'm Annika Koser and I'm an artist with a focus in photorealistic motorsports using acrylic paint. I'm primarily self-taught with my only art education coming from three years of drawing classes in high school. I began painting sprint cars after returning from a year at Lock Haven University, where I was undeclared and very unsure of what I wanted to do as a career.

I'm based out of central Pennsylvania, which is home to dozens of dirt tracks that I use as inspiration for my work. When I started sharing my paintings online they quickly reached sprint car fans all across the country and about two years later I had enough commission requests and steady print sales that I was able to quit my job and put all of my effort into making art a livable career. It's been my full time job for almost four years at this point and in that time.

Annika Koser Workspace - The Stackhouse Printery
A photo of Annika's workspace.


I've gotten to see my work find homes in three countries and forty two states. My proudest achievement has been having my work sold out of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum gift shop and having several pieces on display in the museum as well.

I'm hugely influenced by fellow motorsports artists like David Johnson and Sam Bass, as well as the many great photographers within the sport that capture unique moments that make sprint car racing so fantastic. When I'm not painting I love spending time at the races, going to concerts and baseball games, and visiting antique and record shops.

Achievement and Exhibition

My work is currently on display at a local coffee shop, East End Coffee Co and will stay up through the end of July. This is my first in person exhibition of this kind!

I've gotten to sell my work at two of the biggest races in the country, the Knoxville Nationals in Knoxville, Iowa during the second week of August and the Tuscarora 50 in Port Royal, Pennsylvania during the first week of September, and plan to attend those again this year.

I've been featured in a few publications such as Dirt Empire Magazine, Voyage Ohio Magazine, and Area Auto Racing News. I've also had features on Open Red Podcast and FloRacing.

Annika Kosers In Front of Sign - The Stackhouse Printery
Annika Koser in front of sponsorship sign.


Personal Statement

I work primarily in acrylic on canvas, working meticulously to layer details into a painting to trick the viewer into thinking they are looking at a photograph. My focus is sprint car racing and I love capturing the speed and intensity of this form of motorsports. I'm incredibly passionate about painting by hand and refusing to allow digital art to take over!


Can you tell us a bit about your journey as an artist? What sparked your interest in art?

I always loved to draw as a kid and all the way through school; I took three years of drawing classes during high school as well. I didn't see it as a feasible career and worked several part time jobs and painted just as a hobby while I tried to figure out what direction to take career-wise. I'd share my paintings online and as I did people would ask if they were for sale or if they could commission different pieces. Then people started to ask for prints of paintings if the original was already sold and that increased to an extent of me turning it into a side hustle and eventually a career!

Who are your biggest artistic influences, and how have they shaped your work?

David Johnson was the earliest influence for me when I began to paint more photorealistic racecars. His focus is Formula 1 while mine is dirt track racing, sprint cars specifically, but the amount of detail he packed into his paintings to the point of them looking like photographs was really incredible to me and inspired me to go for the same level of detail in my own pieces.

Sam Bass, the iconic NASCAR artist is also a big influence to me. Just his range and the way he can be minimal with details but still make it feel like there isn't anything missing is incredible. When I'm in the mood for something more relaxed than photorealism his work is where I look for inspiration.

Wing Dance - Annika Koser - The Stackhouse Printery
Wing Dance - Annika Koser


Could you describe your creative process? How do you typically begin a new piece?

I have a very barbaric way of projecting the photo onto the canvas- I print the photo the same size as the canvas and poke holes in the paper at different reference points then poke my pencil through the hole to mark the canvas and connect the dots from there. There has to be a more efficient way of projecting it on there but this way is cheap and gets the job done so for now, I'm sticking to it!

To start I outline the car and get it taped off then do the background first. Then I'll move on to shading the car, adding sponsors then finishing off with the wheels. Simple base coat then typically 2 coats of more accurate shading until the acrylic paint fills in nice and full, then any small details to finish it off.

What are some key tools or materials you use in your work and why are they important to you?

For the most part I'll paint the entire thing using the same two brushes- a Princeton velvetouch round 3/0 and a Winsor & Newton round 1. Obviously not exclusively, but a vast majority of the time! I use them religiously because I know that I can trust them to get smooth lines, but also incredibly skinny lines if need be. That accuracy is really important to me. As far as paint though I use the super cheap craft paint like Craftsmart and Folkart most of the time, but if I'm looking for specific shades I'll go to Liquitex basics acrylic as well.

Kahne - Annika Koser - The Stackhouse Printery
Kahne - Annika Koser


Can you share a particularly memorable moment in your artistic career?

Before I even painted my first sprint car I was at the biggest race of the year in Knoxville, Iowa and there was an artist by the name of Bobby Moore live painting in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum. I was in awe and I stood there watching him then looked at a friend of mine and said "I'm going to do that someday." Again, had never even painted a sprint car! But later that year I did and things developed from there.

Four years later a lot of people told me that my prints should be sold out of the museum gift shop and I thought that was way over my head but I contacted the museum coordinator, showed him my work and offered to wholesale the museum some prints. He ended up buying prints of four different paintings and when I hand delivered the prints at the same race I'd been at years before I was introduced to Bobby who was there to live paint again. He said he'd seen my work online and was a fan, which was amazing! It was a full circle moment and I'm now able to call Bobby a good friend.

How do you balance the commercial aspects of being a professional artist with your creative process?

That's the side I struggle with considerably! Especially taking videos or progress pictures while I'm working. I get in such a zone while I'm painting that it takes me a lot of effort to stop and remember to make any form of content. I realize though that people seem to be much more interested in the process of making it than the actual finished piece so I try my best to keep up with it!

What advice would you give to artists trying to gain more exposure for their work?

Be generous with sharing other artists' work because majority of the time they will return the favor! Donating to local charity auctions and events can be good too, within limits of course. Also finding different vendor events in your area, that has been the biggest help in getting my name out there!

Gravel - Annika Koser - The Stackhouse Printery
Gravel - Annika Koser


How important is community to your work as an artist? Are there any groups or networks you are a part of?

Dirt track racing as a whole is very supportive and people love to rep their favorite driver or have a keepsake of their home track! Without that niche and community of race fans I know that it wouldn't be possible for me to do this for a living. It feels like every time I paint a new car that driver's fanbase shares it across the internet and I'm able to reach new and potential clients.

Have you collaborated with other artists or brands? What was that experience like?

I've done some bottle designs for a local syrup company and am currently working on a shirt design for a race team. They give a few guidelines of course but from there they've seen my work and trust my abilities enough that they let me have pretty free reign with whatever ideas I come up with and think would be good for their product. It's a huge boost of confidence to have businesses trust me like that.

How do you stay motivated and inspired to continue creating new work?

A lot of that typically comes from spending time at the race track and being around the cars. Watching a good race makes me really excited to paint the cars! But also taking a walk around the city and looking at murals, or going to vendor shows and seeing other artists' work is always good for inspiration as well.

If you could change one thing about the art industry, what would it be?

I really wish digital art and AI weren't taking over to the extent that they are. You can't beat something that's done by hand in a physical form so I wish people would lean on that more than they do digital art.

Knoxville Nationals 2022 - Annika Koser - The Stackhouse Printery
Knoxville Nationals 2022 - Annika Koser


What upcoming projects are you excited about? Can you give us a sneak peek into what's next for you?

Lately I've been accepting more commissions opposed to choosing the subject matter myself and just hoping that someone will buy it once it's finished, so my next few are very personal to the client and they're family cars that in a few cases are from back in the 1970s and 80s. That range is always interesting and the customers are extra excited about seeing something so personal hand painted, which I love as well.

Where do you see your artistic journey taking you in the next five years?

As long as I'm opening to accepting them I think I'll continue to have a steady stream of commissions rolling in but I'd love to have a mix of that and painting drivers that are at the national level, or throwback cars from the 1980s or 90s. I'd love to build a more solid set up for doing vendor shows so I could travel to more races or events across the country and reach even more people. I feel like I'm finally reaching the point of figuring out the business side of things so I can focus more on getting into a routine and producing some work that I'm really excited about.

How has working with The Stackhouse impacted your work or opened new opportunities for you?

The Stackhouse really set the standard for my prints and the quality that my customers expect from me. They've helped me represent myself in a really great way and make it possible to give my customers the best product possible! I've gotten a lot of compliments on prints and how people can't believe how much detail is in them for them just being a reproduction.

What do you think about the role of technology, like high-quality art printing, in today's art world?

As long as I'm opening to accepting them I think I'll continue to have a steady stream of commissions rolling in but I'd love to have a mix of that and painting drivers that are at the national level, or throwback cars from the 1980s or 90s.

I'd love to build a more solid set up for doing vendor shows so I could travel to more races or events across the country and reach even more people. I feel like I'm finally reaching the point of figuring out the business side of things so I can focus more on getting into a routine and producing some work that I'm really excited about.

Discover More of Annika Koser’s Work

Feeling inspired by Annika Koser’s journey and incredible artwork? Don’t miss out on the chance to bring a piece of their creativity into your own space. Visit her online gallery to explore and purchase exclusive prints from Annika Koser.

Follow Annika on Instagram/X: @annikakoser_art

Follow Annika on Facebook: Annika Koser Art

Visit Annika Koser’s Website: annikakoserart.com

Contact Annika Koser via Email: annikakoserart@gmail.com

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