Interview: Alanis Vulpis

Today we’re joined by Alanis Vulpis.  Alanis is an amazingly talented artist who sent along some absolutely gorgeous pictures.  There’s a lot of patterns in her work and the striking images draw the looker into them.  This artist has a very bright future in front of her.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I think I subconsciously enjoy repetition because when you look through my work, all you see are patterns. I like to draw from observation and derive patterns from the surrounding environment. Sometimes I incorporate these patterns into the observational drawings, creating a world both attached to reality and to myself.  Other times, my drawings are composed completely of patterns, such as in my “Universe” series that I am currently working on.

What inspires you?

A lot of my recent work has to do with a “universal fluid” that runs through all living things. I believe natural patterns act as evidence of this connection so I am constantly looking towards my surrounding environment for inspiration. Besides the environment, I am also influenced by the works and forces of other artists. Currently I have been studying Ana Mendieta with her ideas on a “universal fluid”, Yayoi Kusama with her use of infinite patterns, Frida Kahlo with the honesty and truth that comes with her raw perspective, Slowdive with their sound atmospheres, and Ruth Asawa with her minimal wire forms. I do not think it is coincidence that the artists I am inspired by are mostly female and People of Color. As a WoC, I find myself resonating the most with works by artists like these.

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What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

As a kid I felt out of place in most situations and yearned for things that were similarly estranged. I felt that those were the things that I could relate to the best. With this in mind, my resonation with art makes a lot of sense. I really enjoyed the idea of creating a world of my own that did not exist in the reality that alienated me.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?

My current work incorporates many designs that are directly influenced by organic patterns I have found within the environment. I do not think that this is much of a secret though.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I feel that there are two main parts to being an artist: the development of skill and the expansion of knowledge. With this in mind, I think the best advice for any aspiring artist is to be constantly making and thinking about art. I like to carry a sketchbook around with me so that I can plan drawings or practice sketching no matter where I am. Sometimes I will carry around a camcorder or DSLR as well (if you’ve ever seen me in person, I always have a little backpack so that I can store all of my supplies). I also bring a book with me to help stimulate my thoughts that may evolve into ideas. In addition, I believe that it is intrinsic for the artist to surround themselves with other practicing artists. Seek out a community that can offer support and inspiration.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I believe I am a Panromantic Asexual.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

None directed at me, but that is mostly because I have not told many about my sexuality. Honestly, participating in this interview is a major step for myself. I’ve told my closest friends but have not even mentioned the possibility of it to my family (and don’t know if I ever will, but that’s just a personal choice). The people I have told have been very supportive and understanding of not only me coming to terms with myself but also of the consequences that come with my realization.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

Probably the trope of Asexuals being either immature children or strange, alienated individuals.

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What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Coming to terms with oneself is a long process, especially if there is a possibility of you identifying somewhere on the Asexual Spectrum. Recently, I have started working on a comic that is about deciphering what thoughts in your head belong to you and what have been implanted there through years of society’s silent work. Its focus is mainly on my Asexuality and my experiences with it thus far. I decided to create this comic because I realized the other day that the only way I will be able to completely accept myself is if I make art that normalizes Asexuality for me. Asexuality is a tough orientation to be a part of because there is absolutely no media representation of it, and when it is represented, it is in stereotypical degrading roles. Not knowing about the existence of Asexuality because of society’s complete ignorance of it resulted in the development of a depression I could not understand and therefore could not conquer. This is why I encourage other Asexual Artists out there to include their sexualities within their work. I strongly believe that we need to be the role models we never had while growing up and by creating work that discusses who we are and what we’ve been through, we will not only improve our own perceptions of ourselves, but will also be offering help to those who are still in a deep confusion.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I have a website (http://alanis-vulpis.wix.com/alanisvulpis) and a Tumblr (http://alanisvulpis.tumblr.com)!

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Thank you so much, Alanis, for participating in this interview and this project.  It is very much appreciated.

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