Interview with artist Alana Bosgra

Baggage
Baggage

Thank you so much to Alana Bosgra for this interview about art and life. She is launching her brand new website and online store today, and so I wanted to spread the word by posting this interview on the same day. Congratulations Lani!!!

Why are you passionate about art and why do you think it is important?

I am a visual person so I am drawn to colour and drawn to interesting looking things. On that level I am passionate about art because it’s beautiful. I am also passionate about communicating a story and art is a platform to do that.

What inspires your art and what does your drawing process look like from idea to finished piece?

Life inspires it. I overhear parts of conversations and sometimes write down random phrases I think are cool and I have a huge note on my iphone that I always add to. It is full of weird bits of writing to build ideas from later. When I actually start a drawing I first need to really connect with the concept. Then I don’t think too much and just do very quick outlines. I never plan the colour scheme or details beforehand it just happens as I go.

You Can't Be Useful If You Aren't Sharpened
You Can’t Be Useful If You Aren’t Sharpened
What do you love most about working with pencil and black biro?

I think it gives me that sense of control; somewhat. A painting needs a lot more pre-planning to work out, same with most other mediums. With pencil and pen I can stuff up and easily change what I was doing and make up bits and pieces as I go and it’s no drama. It feels less final. I love the black to contrast the colour as well.

What are your favourite colours of Prismacolor pencils?

Any pastel blues are gorgeous, the reds and oranges are beautiful, and yeah in general I guess pastel shades are my fave! But in particular there is a light blue, I don’t know the exact name, that I go through so much. It’s like a powder blue, ahh so nice.

You’ve mentioned in the past that you use art as your therapist. How does art help you in your life?

It gives me an outlet to have a decent vent about my experiences. It is an abstract way to say what I might otherwise say in a therapist’s office. It is what I might say to a friend but to give my friends a day off listening to me – because I know it can be heavy – I use art to get it all out.

The Pencil Speaks
The Pencil Speaks
You share your story, your thoughts and emotions through art. How do you find the courage to share them?

Honestly, it isn’t that I have courage to share stuff like that. To me it is absurd not to share that stuff. I probably do run the risk of being an over sharer, let’s be honest, the moment anything happens to me I tend to inform literally all of the people in my life I love and then continually I need to debrief because I am dramatic – but one of the things I aim to do in life is be an open book. Sometimes it hurts when people read a few pages and put me back on the shelf but I feel like I was designed to be open and honest even in crappy things. It’s not brave.

Have you ever received negative responses to your art? How do you deal with them?

People are usually fairly kind to my face but I used to show my art in churches and someone once told me that my work was “a little too creepy” for church settings. Also, people often tell me that the only good art is realistic art and I am like oh nooooooo you didn’t. Nah, I have a pretty thick skin about my art though. Not everyone likes art; people won’t like my style, that’s cool with me. I like what I do, luckily.

You’re open about your struggles which encourages others to be open with theirs. What is your biggest struggle in life and what advice do you have to others who struggle with the same thing?

I am realising my single biggest struggle is battling this disabling anxiety I have. It’s unrelated to things that happen, and it only exists in my head. It’s like I have a piece of string connecting me to the outside world/reality and sometimes that string frays so badly I feel like it might snap and so I freak out. I circle the same invisible unnecessary existential worries constantly when this gets the better of me and I’m aware of the irrationality but I still end up in such a state it is hard to pull myself out of it.

My advice to others that struggle through mental health issues is to be kind to yourself through it – don’t set your expectations of yourself too high. You are worthy of love even at your most irrational or weakest moments. Bad days happen, doesn’t mean it’s a bad life.

I'm Still Trying To Find My Feet
I’m Still Trying To Find My Feet
Who is your favourite artist and what is your favourite artwork?

Salvador Dali. Ah, so many of his works! Hard to choose just one. I probably will go with one of his best known, ‘The Persistence of Memory.’ Those melting clocks!

What movie, song and book have had the biggest impact on your life and why?

Movie: Probably Alice in Wonderland – the cartoon version. I didn’t even see this until I was maybe 19 but I love the imagery and I identify with Alice feeling as though she somewhat makes sense and her frustration with the characters who don’t seem to listen or understand her. There is this underlying sense of fear in Alice in Wonderland – fear of unknown, fear of the unfamiliar, feeling like you don’t know who you are or where you fit, and I connect with that and at the same time love the hilarious nonsense of it.

Book: Probably be the Catcher in The Rye actually. I think I re-read it a bunch of times when I was about 15 and at that time Holden’s character resonated so much with me in terms of getting lost in your mind and finding so much about others to be fake. I read it now and it makes me sad that someone is so unhappy and lost but at the time I first read it I felt like somehow he was reflecting how I felt.

Song: Where Is My Mind by The Pixies (this is the ending song in Fight Club which I also love and this song hit me right in the emotions and it’s good for sad or reflective moods). Also anything by Tame Impala is a favourite.

Do you have a life motto that you live by or a favourite quote that speaks to you?

There is a poem called the Desiderata which a friend of mine once showed me and it’s pretty long but full of really, really common sense advice. My favourite part of it is good if you’re feeling a bit ready to give up: “With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

What do you want to be known/remembered for?

Being someone who makes others feel comfortable to be themselves and being someone who helps others feel understood. Oh, and also to be remembered as an artist would be BRILL.:)

What is your dream as an artist?

To keep using art as a means of communication and keep being myself because art is what I love the most.

The Inescapable Desire to Be Elsewhere And Live In A Vacuum
The Inescapable Desire to Be Elsewhere And Live In A Vacuum
What is your message to the world?

Life is too short to focus only on yourself, I think that’s what I would love everyone to see. You are important but you also have things to offer that people around you need. It’s not even my message, pretty sure I kind of got that off Jesus. But still relevant. Love others from the depths of who you are.

What advice do you have for the beginning artist?

Something my community development lecturer recently said was this: ‘Anything that is worth doing, is worth doing badly the first time.’

No-one ever starts off great. Don’t be afraid of 1000 “bad” pieces of art. Start somewhere and improve on your starting point.

* * *

Local Artist Hosts Exhibition At Mango Tree Cafe to Promote Online Launch 

Artist Alana Bosgra, aged 22, better known by her art moniker “Lani,” is hosting an exhibition at the Mango Tree Café on Jane Street in West End.

Lani has been a professional artist for the past four years, two of which were spent travelling to every state of Australia and sharing her unique art in schools and community groups.

Lani uses her colourful, whimsical style of art as a vehicle to promote discussion around mental health, particularly highlighting issues such as depression and anxiety. Using her personal experiences and thoughts to drive her creative process, Lani focuses heavily on her belief that there is hope no matter what circumstance or challenge arises in life.  

Lani is currently completing a social science degree and aims to link her therapeutic knowledge with her arts practice, with plans to study art therapy.

Lani’s art has been described as reminding others of Alice in Wonderland or surrealist themes seen in the works of Salvador Dali.

Lani published an illustrated collection as a book in 2015 with a focus on resilience and using art to guide the conversation around overcoming challenges. The book will be available for purchase on the exhibition night. 

The event, held at the Mango Tree Café at 91 Jane Street on the 5th August starting at 6pm, promises to be a celebration of Lani’s art journey and new step into the online market. There will be a chance to win a framed A3 original drawing as well as opportunities to take home Lani’s watercolour works.

“I love using art, not just as an enjoyable activity, but as a way to connect to something bigger than myself,” Lani said. “Art should be accessible to everyone, and should celebrated in the community.” 

For more info contact: alanabosgra@gmail.com or see Lani’s art at facebook.com/lanisarty

Lani’s new online store is accessible at lanisarty.squarespace.com.

Be sure to check it out!

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