- Ana King
Artist of the Week: Alison Laing
Curated by Ana King, Alison Laing tells us about finding your path in the art world and traditional and contemporary forms of visual storytelling.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m an Edinburgh College of Art graduate with a degree in Illustration. Born and raised in Edinburgh, I’ve always had a skill for art and design. However, I truly discovered my love for Illustration at the 2017 ECA degree show before accepting my place to study there. I value spontaneity, expressive mark-making and interdisciplinary collaboration within my creative practice. During my studies I managed to branch out and experiment with numerous imagine-making techniques, so now - post-grad - I aim to find my direction moving forward with my artistic practice.
What’s it like being an artist today?
For me, and a lot of people I know, the dream for after graduating was to be able to make a living as a freelance artist. However, the reality is that this notion is a challenging thing and will not be the natural progression for a lot of people. I think the most important thing is to keep being creative in whatever shape or form that may be. The natural trajectory of your creative practice will not always be a predictable one - I really thought that after 4 years studying illustration that I'd would have found my niche, when in actuality I ended up doing the complete opposite and managed to branch out my interests and my technical skillset much like a tree. The brightside, as I see it, is that there’s such a wide scope of creative jobs out there which can offer the opportunity to convey your artistic expression, and I strongly believe that whatever path you end up taking will have a positive impact on your journey and development into becoming the artist you want to be.
Why did you choose the pieces you’ve given to the edi magazine?
I think each piece shows a different aspect of my creative practice and hopefully also has a bit of my own personality in them too.
The second illustration is a textile wall-hanging I created as part of LOUD EYE Collective. All our pieces are based on mythological folk tales and are for sale on our website (www.loudeye.co.uk). I am fascinated by both traditional and contemporary forms of visual storytelling and hope to continue to investigate this area more in both research and practical work.
This last piece was done during my final year which also happened to be during the height of the pandemic. I chose to teach myself embroidery in order to play to this idea of domestication and also emphasis the feeling of having a self-taught education whilst studying during the pandemic. It was a lengthy process in order to complete the series of illustrations, which I also made sure to look rather rough-and-ready in order to truly reflect the experience of working from home.