Day 23 – Giant Pansy
Alina Tang from Giant Pansy lives in Perth, Australia where she keeps herself very busy. Alina manages a print-making and design studio, Beau Est Mien, as well as creating her own art using various mediums. She loves to be amongst the flowers and is a great wordsmith. An all-round creative and inspiring gal!
Are you a self taught artist, or what studies did you do to get where you are today?
I’ve always loved using my hands to draw and make things and I’m never without a pen and paper to doodle with! I struggled and cried throughout almost every art class during high school but I still pursued it at Curtin University in Perth, with a degree in Fine Arts and Design. I discovered and fell in love with the printmaking process and I knew I just wanted to do it all the time. One of the last units I completed was a Textile Surface Design course which absolutely changed the way I worked and thought about art, design, and production. We learnt a lot about screen printing onto fabrics – I love that the technique: it’s versatile, immediate, and requires a lot of elbow grease.
Nowadays my life is divided between working part-time managing a printmaking and design studio based in Northbridge, Beau Est Mien with a team of creative women, and the rest of my time is dedicated towards my own creative projects. It’s a sweet balance of working a “proper job” and pursuing my own creative endeavours.
What tools, programs and apps do you love or cannot live without?
I’m a hands-on kind of person! I love my very precious giant 42 half-pan set of Sennelier watercolours, my diary which contains most of my brain, and I’m just starting to grow my collection of gouache paints. (Please send your recommendations for gouache brands my way – I love discovering new materials) A handful of delicate, good quality brushes, beautiful paper to work on, and a bunch of fresh flowers in the studio always helps!
Your art provides inspirations to so many others. What or who inspires you?
That’s sweet, thank you! I am inspired by: beautiful colour combinations, especially including the colour pink, discovering groovy music, stationery stores, well designed spaces, flower shops, travelling to new cities, beyonce’s music videos, fruitful collaborative projects, meeting other artists doing exciting things, having great conversations with people, listening to other people’s love stories, seeing my friends pursue and fulfil their dreams, and so much more!
Can you describe your process including how long a piece of art takes you from concept to complete?
I work across a few mediums which include printmaking, design / illustration work, and some performative projects. Each of them have their own process from start to finish, so it really varies on what the project is and who I’m working with. I’ve worked on a few commission projects recently and although it can be stressful I generally enjoy working towards a deadline! Usually there is a digital side involved in every project – whether it’s editing and finishing off an illustration or design, or making collateral for social media & marketing – I’ve never trained in graphic design but I love the satisfaction of being able to lay out & pull together scanned paintings, drawings, and text all in one program. It takes a lot of time and sometimes makes me cry from frustration!
What part of your process do you love the most?
The actual making part of course! Printing in the studio, painting, arranging a bunch of flowers – all of the above and all the time please!
If you weren’t an artist, what do you think you would be doing for work?
Quite probably a florist – I love working with fresh flowers and making people smile. It seems like a challenging job that offers something new every day. I would love to have the skills to blend perfumes or work in a perfumery – I have a terrible sense of smell but I love good smells. Otherwise, I am really fascinated with the birth process so I would love to be a midwife. There are so many things I want to do!
Name an underrated artist (if you know one)?
I’ll name an underrated ARI (artist run initiative) – Paper Mountain! Our studio is based there – it’s an incredibly inspiring space that is run by a very dedicated team of artists and volunteers, offering a gallery space, creative co-working space, and private studios. It fosters such a supportive, inclusive community and I’m so proud to be a part of it. I think everyone should come and visit and stay a little while for a cup of tea.
What artwork of yours are you most proud of?
I am really proud of a project I worked on with my friend, writer, and producer SJ Finch called Tussie Mussies in 2015. It was commissioned by City of Perth through their TRANSart experimental program which offers temporary artworks or interventions that engage the public and the urban environment. We created a mobile flower cart that offered individual, hand-picked bouquets for people passing by. Each flower had its own descriptive meaning referring to positive traits of human beings. It has definitely been my favourite project so far because I feel like it ticks all the boxes for the kind of artwork I want to make.
What’s next in the professional pipe works for you?
I’m working on a new collection of tiny stationery, it includes enamel and laser cut brooches, greeting cards, sticker sheets, notepads, and little prints! Keep your eye on my instagram for their release 🙂 Later on this year I’ll be collaborating with my best friend Johanna on an exhibition called BEAD FRIENDS FOREVER at Blank Slate gallery in the Paper Mountain Common Room during FRINGE Festival 2018. There are a few other projects in the pipeline for next year but they’re a little secret for now… 🙂
what is your current favourite album?
All of Jens Lekman’s albums – I usually move on pretty quickly with music but it’s been months and I just can’t get enough of him!
apart from art, what is your favourite thing to do?
Being a (productive) couch potato with my very sweet boyfriend Bodie at home, which usually means watching trashy tv while folding zines, packaging orders, working on projects, or drawing/painting together. I can’t help it, I have a sappy artichoke heart!!
if you could tame any animal and have it as a pet, which one would it be and why?
I would love to be good friends with a whale! They seem to have a lovely sensitivity towards each other and the world.
or any other fun fact you would like to add…
I love wearing matching outfits with my best friend Johanna!!
Website: Giant Pansy
Socials: Giant Pansy on Instagram
Images courtesy of Giant Pansy © Giant Pansy
Feature image by Tanya Voltchanskaya © Tanya Voltchanskaya and Giant Pansy