Artist Alana Holst - AIC Interview

I draw my inspiration from elements of nature that I find close at hand, in my own 'back-yard', that is the prairies of Alberta. I do not paint traditional landscapes and scenes. I choose, instead, to focus on a particular piece of the scene or object and enlarge upon it, inviting my viewers to stop and take stock of how beautiful something is that you otherwise might not have given a second, or even a first, glance. My work is not abstract, but rather hyper-realistic.

Question:
When did you realize you had the need to create and develop your skills?
Answer:
I have been drawing since childhood. I took 2d and 3d art in high school and knew that I had found my passion. Beyond high school and a misspent year at ACAD, I am mostly self-taught. I really began to become serious as a painter in 2002.

Question:
How do you know when your art is complete?
Answer:
Is it ever truly complete? I think you just reach a point when you say, that's it...I'm not helping it along anymore. It's time for the piece to stand on its own two legs.

Question:
Where do you gather your inspiration from?
Answer:
The world around me, which is the Alberta Foothills and prairies.

Question:
Where do you typically create art?
Answer:
In my home-studio

Question:
Right now, what is your medium of choice and what is your favourite subject matter?
Answer:
Acrylic. My work is very sculptural. My favorite subject matter at this time is old barns and specific parts within the whole. I want the viewer of my work to be drawn into the past, the story of abandoned buildings and their inherent beauty. I want to make people stop and really look at something that they otherwise would not have given a second glance.

Question:
All artists at all stages of their career want to try something new, what other medium or subject matter do you see yourself experimenting with?
Answer:
Clay Sculpture

Question:
Continuing education, do you partake and if so what did you learn?
Answer:
I have many different art books for different mediums that I like to pore over. I also turn to you tube to learn new techniques.

Question:
Have you ever taught a class or done an artist talk? If so, what did you talk about or teach? Can people sign up for your workshops and how?
Answer:
I have not taught, no. I was part of a collective for a time, several years ago in Medicine Hat. That was a wonderful experience.

Question:
Have you ever painted en plein air? What was the biggest hurdle for you? Environmental challenges, wildlife, people, weather?
Answer:
No.

Question:
Do you do commissions? If so, what is your process?
Answer:
I am open to commissions. I have not had a commission for many years (not since we were in Medicine Hat).

Question:
What is your favourite art related quote?
Answer:
Thomas Merton. “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

Question:
Do you have a favourite artist and what do you like about their art? Have you ever met them?
Answer:
Tom Thompson. I love the bold use of colour, thick texture and subject matter...there is so much passion in his work.

Question:
Did they inspire you to pursue a career as a professional artist?
Answer:
Yes.

Question:
What is most challenging to you when starting a new project?
Answer:
Starting. I worry whether I will be able to do the subject matter any justice.

Question:
What advice would you give to an artist starting out?
Answer:
Paint what moves you, what you love. Do not paint what you think will sell. People want to see your passion in your work.

Question:
What keeps you going forward with your art in this very competitive industry?
Answer:
The deep need to create and share the way I see the world

Question:
In your studio, right now, what is your most important tool that you would be lost without?
Answer:
Old nasty worn out brushes.

Question:
What is your favourite piece of work you have created, thus far?
Answer:
A Door to the Past

Question:
What is the most well received piece of art you have created?
Answer:
Hay Loft

Question:
Do you have a favourite gallery or museum that you visit?
Answer:
Blue Rock in Black Diamond