What every BUNNY in Wilmington should have on their X-mas List

Local painter Sullivan Anlyan gilded bunny
for Anthropologie

Just this Wednesday, local painter Sullivan Anlyan’s signature gilded bunnies made the hop from canvas to cotton on Anthropologie.com.

Sully’s prints had already found a home with Anthropologie several months back but seeing her work displayed on a model wearing the “Shimmered Conversation Tee” on the Anthro website for the first time, she admitted (via Instagram) “I am so excited, I think my head might explode!!!”

Porridge Clothing developed the shirt through Anthropologie’s Artist Collaboration program. Sully was familiar with Porridge since she already owned a horse print top they produced with Anthropologie. Sully developed 7-8 different donkeys (similar in placement to the bunny shirt) and sent them to Porridge but ultimately Anthro decided on one big donkey. She saw a digital mock-up of the shirt a few months ago, but the final look was a surprise.

“Even though I didn’t have any control over the shirt’s design, I absolutely love the cut of the shirt. As I get older, I don’t really want a shirt gripping my midriff! And, the deep V neck is a very flattering.”





Sullivan Anlyan for Porridge Clothing is on the tag, but her credit is not in the copy on the website yet. “Hopefully it will be. Having my name on my work is very important to me. I’m trying to building a brand (laughs) or my ‘Em-peer’ said with maximum affectation!”

While Sully is busy working on her empire with her two kiddos Kingsley and David and bunnies Kevin and Francis as witness, I called her for a quick Q&A to find out if her head had exploded yet – along with a little back story on how she had arrived.

ff: I heard through the grapevine that your sister works at the Anthropologie corporate office. Did she play a role in connecting you with their buyers?
“Yessss! The nepotism thing. I definitely recognize the door opening that may not have opened otherwise. My sister does work in their corporate office. It’s the right place, right time sort of situation. It all started when she gave one of my 4×4 bunny prints on canvas as a birthday or baby gift, which later found its way into the hands of the same buyer who approached me initially about my prints.”


ff: How did that first order evolve to where you are at now?
“I didn’t hear from them for awhile. And once I did, things moved quickly. I had never reproduced any of my prints before and all of the sudden I had to adhere to vendor codes, figure out paper type, packaging, etc. It was a bit overwhelming at first but I love, love, LOVE being associated with Anthropologie. I’ve always loved the store.”


ff: What are you working on with them going forward?
“We’re on the 12th reorder of the bunny prints and I’m already working on Christmas 2015 – specifically coasters and a 6-foot Christmas tree wall hanging. I have a total of two weeks to get everything together for Christmas 2015 so it’s intense. I’m freaking out a little. For summer, we are discussing a nautical line and another line that is a surprise.”


ff: Please tell us a little about your background as a painter.
“Both of my parents are really great artists. Mom went to art school in Greensboro and my Dad took art classes with her as a break from law school. One of my friends said the other day, ‘Big Bill (Dad) is a better artist than you’ and I had to agree. Mom was always doing some kind of artistic project with us. Growing up, drawing really was what I was best at. I rode horses so horses were pretty much all I wanted to draw.
In college, I was an English/Art History major at Carolina with a concentration in metal sculpture. I could weld but I don’t think my vision was any good. Plus, I wanted a medium that was more portable so I came back to drawing what I love – animals.”




ff: What artists have been most influential in cultivating your style?
“Jenny Saville, David Choe, Jeff Koons. To be able to come up with an abstract idea and have the resources to pull it off would be amazing. A giant puppy topiary? I’m all about it! Amelia Hutchins is my favorite local artist. It’s an absolute travesty that she’s not painting anymore. She’s the person I always go to when I have doubts and need advice. And, then there’s sculptor Beth Cavner Stichter. The woman is definitely touched by a higher power. Her work is just so beautiful. Her deer are full of emotion. They almost have a human quality to them. One of my goals is to make my animals more expressive and relatable.”


ff: How would you describe your signature work?
“Very graphic with a lot of black & white lines with pops of color. I’m trying to work more in paint. Working on fabric takes some getting used to because there is no gray scale. I’d love to go back to school for textile design one of these days.”


ff: When did you start working with gold & silver leaf? How did this technique change your work?
“It changed everything. Back around 2008, I made my first gold leaf piece for a show at ERA downtown. It was a dove in flight. Ken & Kelly Oliver bought it right before the show. I remember looking at it right after I hung it and really loving how the gold caught the light. Sometimes it’s super reflective and other times its warm. It gives the work more of a design element and it’s a kind of glamorous. Who doesn’t love a little bit of gold? People are actually highly disappointed when I don’t use gold or silver leaf now in my work. I want to gild everything! I’m kind of dying to gild someone’s ceiling right now!”


Sully painting a bird mural outside of ERA Gallery on Castle Street


ff: Which of your pieces has had the greatest response?
“People really go crazy for the gold. Anything big and bold like the octopus. And the bunnies. If you don’t like bunnies, that’s kind of like not liking sunshine!”




ff: What role does your personal style play in your work?
“Aesthetically, my work and personal style kind of mimic each other. Graphic, quirky, and stylized with a high dose of bunny prints!”

Sully has yet to own her own Shimmer Conversation tee (Anthro did not send a sample – boo hiss!), but her daughter Kingsley has insisted she wants the bunny print, the donkey and the star print for Christmas.

Order your own Anthro Shimmered Conversation Tee by Sullivan Anlyan for Porridge Clothing (Click HERE!) and pick out your very own gilded bunny at Sully’s Art Opening / Oliver Holiday Party next Thursday December 11th at 7pm. Then you can say you knew her when! Suns out, Buns out. It’s the freakin’ weekend. Please check out our latest James + Dunne styled portraits with Ethan Gaskill Photography below. Thanks for reading! xo


Sully greeting Shannon at her last art opening at Annex / Photo: Jess James



Uncommonly cool vintage-inspired portraits
with a touch of whimsy and overall editorial feeling.

Styled by Jess James + Shannon Dunne
[James + Dunne Styling]
Ethan Gaskill Photography

Email jessjames7@gmail.com



Magical Tea Party
Styled by Jess James + Shannon Dunne
[James + Dunne Styling]
Ethan Gaskill Photography
Featuring: Leslie Herbert Smith +
her children Emme and Cole







Styled by Jess James + Shannon Dunne
[James + Dunne Styling]
Ethan Gaskill Photography
Featuring: Laura Peters, Beacon
(Laura’s new puppy) + Buttercup, the horse









Styled by Jess James + Shannon Dunne
[James + Dunne Styling]
Ethan Gaskill Photography
Featuring: Oz + Mike
with children Lillie and Tyler


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