Artist Alana Tyson was born in Calgary, Canada. She graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2006, with a BFA (Hons) degree in Painting. She moved to the UK in 2007 and currently lives in North Wales. Nearing the end of her residency with Ruthin Craft Centre, she talks about how her work and her outlook have developed in the third and final feature of this series…

I have been Artist-in-Residence at Ruthin Craft Centre for nearly three months; in this time I have been wholly consumed by art: making, thinking, viewing and talking. It has confirmed for me that this is what I want to be doing full time. I feel ambivalent about the use of the term ‘career’; I am not sure that art is a career so much as a creative lifestyle. I have come to see that other aspects of my life inform my art, as art likewise informs my existence outside of my practice. At times the two conflict, but I am working on acknowledging their inter-relatedness and achieving a balance.

Alana Tyson, Studio
The studio

Ruthin Craft Centre has been fantastic to work in. The space is ideal; the opportunity to make a mess and experiment has really expanded my practice. I have also really enjoyed visitors dropping into the studio, chatting, asking questions and sharing their interpretations of my work. I am very excited to be involved in an event that has been organised by RCC; a panel discussion, entitled Craft and Concept, centered on the use of textiles within the conceptual art field on Saturday 8 March.

The residency has not been completely stress-free. It is so easy to underestimate the time a project like this takes; luckily, the Arts Council of Wales has been very supportive and flexible about adding a month to my end date. I also proposed to create an artist book to accompany the residency, but it is not going to be possible while I have the space at RCC. I intend to work on the book directly afterwards when I have more time to dedicate to it. Additionally, I now realise I was getting ahead of myself as the work being created during the residency will inform the final product.

Alana Tyson, Installation
The installation in progress

The installation, Interiors, is almost complete. I have decided not to rush these final bits but to take my time and make sure I get it right. There have been elements I had not considered in my original plans and other issues have emerged, changing the piece. As I spoke about in my last blog post, this is all a part of the process and I have really enjoyed the necessary problem solving. I am still undecided on some components, such as how to treat the floor, but have resolved to give myself some space and see what solutions emerge.

Alana Tyson, Rupture

In addition to the installation, I have also been experimenting with new work. A big battle has played out in my studio (and shall continue indefinitely I am sure) over what I want to be making and what my artistic concerns are. I have realised that I make art to mediate the things that present as difficult in my life. In each piece one element represents me and another represents a problem or concern. I can go back through works made in the past several years and define each of these parts; the strongest pieces are those that emphasise a third component, the tension between these first two elements.

This realisation has given me a bit of direction with future works, but I look at the artist statement I so carefully wrote last year and it feels woefully inadequate. I see now that defining my artistic practice is a process of constant refinement; looking back at the developments of the past few months I feel I am getting closer. Consistently writing about my practice for things like this blog and in my personal journal has helped me to define things significantly, but the difficulty of condensing ideas and motivations into a concise paragraph is particularly challenging. Rewriting my artist statement feels in some ways like starting at the beginning again. Then I remember that this is one of the reasons I have chosen to be an artist, I can’t get bored as things are constantly evolving and every project is a new beginning.

I am finishing this series of posts with a feeling of satisfaction, proud of my achievements over the past few months. More than that though I feel resolved, determined to continue with my artistic practice and excited about the future.

For more about Alana’s residency, check out part one of the series here and part two here. To read more about how Alana makes her work, take a look at her My Process feature from last year.

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