Rascals of Society - Episode 8
'She's kind of like God...actually Frida Kahlo is probably God'.
I originally met Alyce at one of my first gigs since moving to Sydney, Bleeding Knees Club to be exact. On that note there isn’t too much my house mate and I remember from that night in general, however Alyce and her mates were certainly something we did. We met after she tapped me on the shoulder and asked to snap a photo of me with her little point and shoot camera. From there, several drinks and cigarettes were shared over loud drunken conversations.
Anyways... enough of the background life stories! After a few more partying opportunities it became apparent to me that Alyce’s free spirited attitude was even more apparent through her artwork. With ridiculous detail and technique Alyce transform’s the female figure into a mesmerising and powerful goddess like figure under the name of ‘Aluna Ink’. For the most part you don’t meet many people that are this good at art, the majority of my mates can barely draw stick figures. So it was nice to see some real art in the flesh for once from someone I knew.
Hear what she had to say about it all!
Firstly tell us your name + nickname(s)
My name's Alyce. I don't really have a cool nick name I actually just called up my friend and asked her to give me one for this question and she said "Dumb Whore"...sooo I guess either that or Al haha!
What were you thinking about before answering these questions?
We're making nachos for dinner so I'm thinking about all the sour cream I'm going to put on them and also the current state of the Australian Economy... you know, important things like that.
Your bio for Aluna Ink reads "Hi I draw lots of eyes and boobs". Why do you recreate the female figure in the way you do? Your characters come across super empowering and spiritual
Thank you! It kinda means the world if people are able to connect with them in a way that they find empowering or personal. I draw women the way I do as a way of exploring aspects of my own emotions, ideas and questions about the world around me. I guess that's where most art comes from, an individuals interpretation of the world and what it looks like to them. It's very flattering that you describe them as empowering because a big part of trying to explore these ideas is embracing the power I see in the women around me as well as to try and figure out what my own femininity means to me.
I get asked a lot why I don't draw guys as much as girls and it's not that it's some purposeful sexist comment it's just that at this point in my life I'm so incredibly inspired by this sense of inspiration I've found in female energy getting older and so I'm kind of trying to figure out what that inspiration means to me at the moment.
Has it always been about third eyes and boobs since day one or have you slowly built up to this distinct style you do so well now?
This style started to come through a lot during high school, before that I was pretty into realism which doesn't have too many third eyes and junk. I went to an all girls catholic school in Sydney and found it all pretty confusing and confronting, I started creating these faces and girls as an outlet to try and figure out my own identity, spirituality and femininity during that time, so it's progressed into what it is now. I feel like I still have a long way to go but I'm very happy seeing where this is all going.
What inspires your style of art? There's so much content out there these days it's hard to keep things unique.
Someone who really inspires me is Del Kathryn Barton, she's kind of like God actually Frida Kahlo is probably God. My Mum's the biggest inspiration out of all them though I wouldn't even be drawing without her she was an artist too and got me drawing pretty much as soon as I could, before I could actually draw anything seriously she's kept all my drawings and some of them are just scribbles or like a page with a bunch of purple brush strokes on it. And I'm just heaps confused as to why she kept them… it's just some purple mess by a 2 year old. I have a bunch of interesting friends as well who make me feel heaps happy and are always giving me ideas through all our antics. Especially the love and support from my friends and unique diversity of their characters that comes through, that's probably what inspires me most when it comes to the people I'm surrounded by.
When it comes to keeping things unique I try not to stress on that too much and just let it come as naturally as possible. I figure everything's a chain of inspiration from something before it so you just have to let your inspirations have the right impact on you.
Some of your pieces have a ridiculous amount of detail in them. How long does a piece usually take? Following on from that what's your favourite medium to use I guess it depends on the task at hand right.
My favourite medium is defiantly ink drawing. I love painting and learning graphic design but I find there's something so expressive and therapeutic about just getting the chance to be hand to paper. When I start drawing I'll just kind of get stuck into a void the drawings only really take an hour or more but I never really feel like they're completely done I always feel like I can add more detail or aspects to them so usually end up working on them adding extra bits and pieces right until they're due.
Gay power, Black power, women power, student power, all power to the people' is a really strong message in one of your pieces, what message do you wish to achieve through your art?
I actually found that slogan by going through old protest photos from around the 60s and 70s. I found one of this young woman who looked around the same age as me holding up a sign that said that and fell in absolute love with it, I think because of the sense of empowerment I got from it. I mean it's sad that that photograph would be almost 40 to 50 years old and this girl way back then was trying to get across the same message we're struggling to in this day and age, but at the same time it was empowering because of this connection I felt from it. Seeing this girl stand up for the same thing so many of us feel passionate about today. That's why I wanted to draw it and that same kind of idea is what makes me draw most of the women and things I draw. If the message I can get across from these drawings is one that gives someone or anyone a sense of empowerment or connection then that's pretty special.
Art is clearly your main gig, is there anything else you wish you were good at?
I wish I was better at writing, that or maybe being able to fly... My grandma is this beautiful writer, she was an english teacher for 30 years and the way she establishes connection and expresses herself through writing is what I hope I can accomplish through art. Being able to fly just seems like it'd be heaps fun too.
With social media and technology obviously an ever growing resource, how important is it for people to stay in touch with their creative side and pick up a pencil?
Maybe one of the most convenient times ever, now it's so easy to make your work accessible to such a large audience. I think I'm one of those cases where I really do owe a lot of the opportunities I've received to technology and social media and I still have so much more to learn about it all especially when it comes to advancing work digitally on programs like photoshop, InDesign etc. I'm both blown away and thankful for that so I'd definitely encourage anyone to be as open with their work as they can be. It can be pretty intimidating and nerve racking to be open and share creativity and I'm still learning to share more personal projects but coming back to that sense of empowerment through connection. By sharing ideas and creations on these platforms it makes it possible to reach and inspire an audience which can lead to some amazing connections and opportunities. I'd definitely say this day and age is a pretty important time to pick up a pencil and just draw.
If you were to eat one food for an entire week what would it be?
The nachos I was talking about before, I've eaten them by now sadly, they were really good but I needed more sour cream though.
What do you reckon the chances are of you drawing us a pirate cat smoking a cigarette would be? Somehow that's the first thing that came to my mind.
That's so cool that came to your head because I just so happen to love all those things. I based the cat off my one, his name is Orlando just thought I'd include him.
It doesn't take an qualified art critique to realise that Alyce is certainly one artistically gifted young lady. Already with such an impressive portfolio of work and ideas, at only 20 years of age the art world is Alyce's oyster. In today's digitally driven society, where people take selfies rather than paint portraits and would rather indulge in a fiery Facebook rant than read a book; I personally believe creative folk such as Alyce are the ones keeping this world spinning the right way.
So do something different today and pick up a pencil rather than your phone, and if you really suck at art that bad who said a glass of wine or 6 won't help that...
Words/photos by Dougal Gorman