It’s been a long time in the making but 110% worth the wait…
Introducing to you, Alice Glascott who you may also know as Aluna Ink. For those who haven’t crossed paths with Al yet, then this is the time to hear her story and view her artworks here.
The past couple of years has been one hell of a rollercoaster for this current Wollongong women; countless moves, life decisions, studying, painting artworks and murals but most importantly finding the strength to open up and share with the world her personal experience with sexual abuse, harassment and mental health.
I am so proud of this ray of sunshine for pushing through and staying true to herself.
Content Warning: The below piece discusses sexual assault, if this triggers any issues please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, dial 000 or visit your nearest emergency room.
CW: 2018 is flying by… how has it been treating you so far?
AG: 2018 has been one of the most chaotic, utterly messy, all over the shop years yet but somehow also one of the best.
CW: Where did you grow up and where are you based now?
AG: I was born and grew up around Sydney but currently on my way back to Wollongong where I live in a share house with some really cool creative girls I admire a lot; there’s a bunch of beautiful passionate people around this place which is partly why I love it here.
CW: How did you get to where you are today?
AG: I’d say I’m a person who learns more from experience than anything else. I never really thrived in school unless it was art class. Honestly, I struggled a huge amount during high school and barely got through, I spent pretty much all of my time in my final year bludging classes to be in the art rooms, not that I was trying to be a little shit or deliberately being a ‘bad student’ it was just that like a lot of people in an all-girls Sydney Catholic School (or just any school in that matter) I felt ashamed I couldn’t fit into a traditional school system and was frustrated with what I perceived to be everyone else around me fitting in so easily.
That’s where art came in; it was the only practice I felt confident and openly vulnerable in and the more I felt anxious and dumb in things like maths and geography classes the more confident I became in art. I studied graphic design and illustration around Sydney a little bit after high school but like I said, I find pretty much the only way I seem to learn anything effectively is through experience. Even though I’m excited to get back to study, I’ve learnt to be patient in when I’ll fully be able to dedicate myself. For right now I have a lot more to mess up and experience and I’m oddly okay with that. I’m learning to be content in seeing what happens, trusting myself and my practice enough to let it happen.
CW: Can you delve into the creative process behind creating your works?
AG: I think like most creative projects mine starts off by being an expression of whatever big messy crazy ideas, thoughts and/or emotions need to get out of my head. It’s the closest thing I find you can get to literally mind vomiting and becomes incredibly therapeutic to the point that it’s an imperative part of identity. It’s almost hard to pinpoint exactly what each process of work has been like because each one is so sporadical but something I have noticed I’ve repeated when drawing my women is I like to imagine how they’re best able to express what I’m feeling and then come up with a kind of backstory for them to make them something completely unique like what their ethnicity is and what time period they’re from, that’s my favourite part because I love having the chance to research what parts women have played in foreign and past cultures and what symbols and illustrations best suit that. recently only this year I’ve began doing some self-portraits which was extremely personal and weird beginning to stray from that process but beneficial in the way I feel I’m able to learn to be more flexible in a creative process.
CW: Your drawings are quite intricate and detailed, how long does a general artwork take you?
AG: I like to spend at least a few hours on each work depending on how big and how detailed it can range from 2 to even 5 hours to get everything I want out onto paper and I find it so hard to stop once I’ve started. My housemate said to me the other day she was seriously impressed with how much I could sleep in and I guess it’s mainly because I’ll stay up all night working on these.
CW: Who is your creative rock/where do you draw your inspiration from?
AG: Okay I want to name a huge range of bad ass empowering female creatives who make my skin tingle just beginning to think about them but before any of them I need to say my mum and her sisters (my aunties) they grew up in an incredibly remote town called Tennant Creek which is on Warumungu land where they came from Greece. They had such an interesting and tough lifestyle growing up especially my mum coming from there to a place like Sydney this huge city and art was and still is her rock. I’m so incredibly thankful she passed that onto me I mean it’s what and all I want to do with myself and it’s her and my dad who she met through music and painting who installed that in me.
Also those other bad ass empowering people who I draw inspiration from include Kathryn Del Barton, Tati Compton, Patti Smith, Frida Kahlo (of course), Kim Gordon, Frances Canon, Elly Malone (@cactei) and Harry Phillips (@harryphilllips) who I’ve absolutely loved getting to paint with.
Then there’s those incredible people I’m surrounded with in my everyday life like my best friend Gracie who’s so endlessly supportive, the best pair of sisters in the world called India and Siena and my housemates Maddy and Laura are some incredible intelligent take-no-shit powerhouse creative girls I’m very thankful to have around.
CW: Do you use any recurring themes in your works?
AG: I would say there’s a lot of subconscious and obvious displays of discovery in my works especially around womanhood.
CW: What materials/medium do you use? And what is your go to?
AG: I recently bought an iPad and have delved into making digital works as of recent and it’s so noticeably different from working by hand I’m really enjoying that though, working on things like Photoshop and procreate to create illustrations more effectively but I find it really hard to get around technology I swear I’m actually a 70 year old in a 20 year olds body so my favourite medium would be working with ink and canvas.
CW: You recently shared an important article addressing an incident from your own personal experience of sexual assault. This is an extremely serious matter and often very difficult to open up about. How do you now feel after sharing this?
AG: Having the chance to open up publicly about what happened and the reaction that followed was one of the most insane experiences I’ve gotten to have. Originally I just wanted to do it for me for some kind of release. Over the last year settling into adulthood I’ve noticed some of the lasting effects it’s had on me and internally and I’ve been trying to figure out what that means to me and what kind of person I am now because of those issues. I realised there was still a lot of hurt from it and that hurt is there because it’s still happening and these cases are still active around us. I didn’t know how people were going to react when I was told when the project was going to be released, honestly I was nervous and aware it could blow back on me but overall I was more just relieved to be open about it finally so all all of the anxiety around it took a back seat because I was really just exhausted from being anxious about it and was at a point where I just didn’t really care anymore and god I never expected the reaction I got. I remember for the next two days following the release being in absolute awe of the messages I was getting from both boys and girls opening up about their own experiences with sexual assault and the fact some of these people expressed finding comfort and empowerment in seeing others being open about it was all I could ever want and more from this project. We are here for each other and we are here to hear each other.
CW: When did you decide to speak up about your history of sexual assault?
AG: Before the article I only chose to tell the story of the incident to 3 people who I trusted greatly and were a huge part of my life. Apart from that I buried it.
CW: You have had a big response from people with similar experiences, and this just shows how significant it is to reach out for help and to know that we are not alone. Can you touch on this further?
AG: I can one hundred percent say from this experience; victims are so far from being alone but saying that part of being a victim can be isolation. Speaking from my personal understanding, the feeling of isolation can come from blaming yourself for what happened and the self struggle and hate that comes from that as well trust issues related to genders or within peers and anxiety from the feeling of loss of control and powerlessness. There are a number of factors that can push an individual into a state of helplessness and all I can hope to urge people in that state is not to trust those feelings because there are people and there are sources waiting and wanting to help.
CW: Hopefully together we can help others and put a stop to sexual assault. Is there any advice you can give to those that are still in the dark?
AG: What happened to you doesn’t make you a burden, it doesn’t make you broken and you are valid and deserving of support and there are a wave of people and sources who can relate and help you.
CW: For those who haven’t read, where can they find the article?
AG: The article along with the photos from Imogen’s project ‘humans of the nude’ are up on Sisterhood of the Soul blog.
CW: Lastly, what’s next?
AG: I have no clue. I’m learning to be content with putting myself out there as much as i can and trusting to see what happens.