Ally Zlatar for The Meadow
"I hold a BFA in Visual Art & Art History from Queen's University & an MLitt Curatorial Practice from the Glasgow School of Art. Currently, I am pursuing my Doctorate of Creative Arts with the University of Southern Queensland. I have dualistic experience as a Curator/ Artist and have been involved in many projects and galleries globally. Ranging from projects with such galleries as Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Hunterian Art Gallery & Glasgow's Centre for Contemporary Art. Exploring my artist practice as a methodology that suggests the human condition is more complex than it is currently understood. Using primarily, painting I examine, instigate and provoke notions of the individual experience through specifically focusing on the philosophical discourse, body image, embodiment & ethics."
Ally's ideal 2021 Summer
"...for summer 2021 I would love to travel eastern Europe with my partner and see some amazing beaches, art and culture."
* in relevance to our issue #3
t h e i n t e r v i e w
1. Please start with a little introduction about yourself!
Exploring curating and art making as a methodology that suggests the human condition is more complex than it is currently understood, Alexandria (Ally) Zlatar (She/Her) examines, instigates and provokes notions of the individual experience through specifically focusing on philosophical discourse, body image, embodiment & ethics. Zlatar acknowledges there is power within the un-well body and believes there is tremendous value and potency through examining these subjects through the contemporary art lens. Born in Mississauga, Canada. She holds a BFA in Visual Art & Art History from Queen's University & a MLitt Curatorial Practice from the Glasgow School of Art. Currently, she is pursuing her Doctorate of Creative Arts with the University of Southern Queensland. She has been involved in many exhibition creations & has had personal work shown globally. Additionally, she has worked on many curation projects with such galleries as Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Hunterian Art Gallery & Glasgow's Centre for Contemporary Art. She is continuously interpreting, her desire to communicate & facilitate the theoretical concepts of art is highly valuable to her & her practice and strives to make a difference in society.
2. You are such a talented artist! What drove you to be one?
My interest in this area started in my adolescence, where I was always mesmerized by ancient cultures, literature, and visual art. My predisposition for drawing, sculpture, and painting led me to major in a Bachelor of Visual Arts at Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario). As a visual art student, I gained first-hand experience working with classical modes of art-making such as painting, life drawing, and working with contemporary and complex art materials – like fiber-casting, computer animation and time-based media. Being exposed to this studio experience has provided me with a comprehensive understanding of the design process, the formation, and the artistic rationale behind the objects, which I believe is vital when trying to understand the objects.
*Tap painting to view in full screen
3. How has your journey been so far?
It’s been exciting but incredibly stressful. Especially with COVID, it has presented challenges about how I am presenting art in a contemporary art scene and global pandemic.
4. How has being an artist from Queensland affected your work?
I think there is a tremendous artist network and a very engaging art scene that has been very inspiring to my artistic practice. Currently, I’m in Glasgow, UK, doing research.
5. Tell us more about your book, “The Starving Artist: Understanding Body Image and Eating Disorders
within Contemporary Art”! What’s it about and what inspired you to write it?
In Glasgow, I completed my Masters in Curatorial Studies and Contemporary Art. I received the top student award and a distinction for my thesis. The dissertation was the starving artist which is a research-based work & art collection that brings together a variety of individual experiences, mediums, and contributors. "The Starving Artist" that explores our understanding Eating Disorders, body image, and being unwell within Contemporary Art. It features works by over 25 International Artists and these individuals examine the unwell body.
Initially, it was meant to be a lot smaller scale but, as popularity and interest grew, it allowed me to expand upon my vision. I found that my role existed in between the pages and equally outside of the bounds of the book. My role entailed everything from maintaining communication, negotiating contracts, and writing about art and artists, to studio visits, debating with publication and printing formatting, and brokering relationships. Over the course of the project, I realized that I went above and beyond what I wanted to achieve. I was able to collaborate with such a diverse range of artists and contributors. We created a positive impact on the community, and it reaffirms me to further develop these ideas and various others I have in my curatorial vision. In the larger context of curating, this experience has truly helped me expand my knowledge of the systematic structure of the art world.
6. Share with us the BTS of your writing process.
A lot of my writing has been very spontaneous. I strive to write intuitively and really try to capture the core and depth of the actual message I want to convey.
7. Your book has clearly seen great success. It is in over 30 Universities worldwide including Harvard,
Yale, and Princeton! How did you begin getting the word out?
I started with my artist network and spread the word, and from there a lot of traction gained from the project since it has such an important message.
8. What is your creative process as an artist? What rushes your creativity?
I think my process is different per each project. Some are more creative and just inspiration hits me like a lightning bolt. Other times, it requires a lot of research and preparation. Each are different. As for inspiration life has really been my inspiration and I try to focus on examining the human condition.
9. Who is your inspiration (Same as Above)?
Life has really been my inspiration and I try to focus on examining the human condition.
10. Any art or writing tips from your experience for our creatives out here?
I think practice and really try to build up a portfolio of work and then try to reach out to some artists, and art professionals for feedback.
11. How have you been spending your days and dealing with the current pandemic?
Netflix, and a lot of Just Dance haha.
12. You started a charity for The Starving Artist as well and congratulations on raising over £5000 for
Eating Disorder Treatment! How would we gain access to/buy The Starving Artist and also
contribute to your charity?
Thank you! To learn more about the book, visit here! Any donations could be made to Paypal (firstname.lastname@example.org)
13. So, what should we expect next, in the near future?
I have been touring the exhibition and The Starving Artist. I have also been working on a second book and if you want to keep in the loop here is my website.
14. Any message for Pastel Serenity’s creative community?
I just hope people stay creative and enjoy some amazing art in 2021.