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Frustrated with the kind of paint on offer at
the time, Annie Sloan decided to create her
own range 25 years ago. MARION GERRITSEN
catches up with the queen of paint.
When you say decoratives you think vases, cushions and wall
art---beautiful pieces that can change the ambience and feel of
a home. However, decorative paint is another way to completely
change the look of a room without having to go for an extreme makeover.
"The benefits are there is no need to sand or prime a piece of
furniture, you can literally just paint," says Annie Sloan, a creative
paint guru known worldwide for her inspirational colour, books---
she has sold more than two million copies worldwide---style and
inspiration. For many, she's the queen of paint.
An Australian by birth and painter by passion, Sloan created the Chalk
Paint range after her own frustrations finding an easy to use range of
paints in colours that allowed her to be as creative as she wanted.
"I created Chalk Paint over 25 years ago, there was nothing on
the market that offered the right texture, possibilities and the
Twenty years later her much loved range includes over 30 colours
and lets you rejuvenate, recycle or refashion almost any surface really
easily. It has only recently been launched in Australia, after its immense
success in the UK and US.
"Chalk paint is popular with everyone ranging from teenagers to
pensioners, however, our main market is people aged between 30 and
The name for this innovative decorative paint range has little to do
with chalkboard paint, or as Sloan explains, "it was actually nothing to
do with what's inside the tin, it's to do with the chalky finish".
Chalk Paint can be applied straight on to furniture as well as walls
and floors without the need to prime, sand, or even remove old wax,
paint or varnish---the paint will adhere to wood, plastic, stone, brick,
concrete and metal. It is water based and eco-friendly, containing
virtually no VOCs, and it is highly concentrated to produce extensive
Born in Sydney's Cremorne to a Scottish father and a Fijian mother,
Annie moved with her family to England to live on a farm in Kent when
she was 10 years old. After spells in Southern Africa, France, Cuba and
the US Sloan has settled in Oxford UK, where in 2000, she set up a shop
to showcase Chalk Paint, run courses and offer interior design services.
Trained as an artist, Sloan turned to decorative work after university
in the mid-1970s whilst painting murals in houses and commissions.
"I went to art school, I was brought up around a lot of colour, and
with the knowledge of artists and their work. It just seemed like a
By 1987 Annie had written her phenomenally successful book The
Complete Book of Decorative Paint Techniques that to this day is
considered to be the industry bible on the subject.
To date, Sloan has also published over 20 books on decorative
painting, selling well over two million copies worldwide. According to
Sloan, her brand has been built on a burning desire to educate people
about art and design first and foremost.
"Annie Sloan is a brand which has its roots in people and their
experience, it is a bottom up company and not a top down company,"
"Creativity is best approached obliquely so it is caught unawares...
when it isn't looking. I have a paintbrush in every room."
Following the success of her recent number-one-Amazon-ranked
book, Sloan is a key figure in the global painted furniture revolution
with more than 700 independent and personally hand-picked
"Our ethos is to support small independent stores, we actually
sell it mainly in gift and homewares shops. It's a great gift as it
"We do sell our paint online, but Chalk Paint is an experience, it's
important to speak to someone about our products. Stockists provide
demonstrations and workshops to show people just what can be
achieved with Chalk Paint.
"My vision is that each individual stockist will have their own
style. One will be Mid Century Warehouse, another Rustic Country or
French Chateau. This will make people want to visit all the stores that
sell my paint," she adds.
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