From securing European artist residencies and being involved in an epic homage to an architectural gem and phenomenal women - Alina Gane Hurcomb has had an exciting creative journey of late. We spoke to her ahead of our alumni exhibition Ki tua atu - further and beyond.
Hi Alina. Let's get to know you - describe yourself as an artist.
I am an emerging 2D visual artist. I use a variety of media including charcoal, graphite, pastels, pastel pencils, ink, acrylic, oil sticks and watercolours. My work has realistic, impressionistic, pointillist and contemporary elements to it. My inspiration comes from everywhere. I am particularly drawn to portraiture, feminism, animals, music and current events. But my absolute muse is historical European architecture.
Why did you decide to enrol at The Learning Connexion and was it a good decision?
I had attended a free workshop and then received a phone call a week later offering me a scholarship to study at TLC. At first, I was conflicted about the decision because it would mean leaving the security of my job and I wasn’t sure that I had what it took to be an artist. It was absolutely the right decision for me, but it took me a long time and multiple exhibitions abroad before I felt comfortable referring to myself as an artist. I have always held artists in high esteem so getting my head around this was huge.
I have gone from not being sure that I could be an artist to knowing that is exactly what I was supposed to be.
What are some of the things you enjoyed most about studying at TLC?
I love that most of the work done at TLC is hands-on. I also like that classes can be done multiple times. There is nothing worse than getting on a roll and then having the momentum broken. It also creates a sort of ‘continuity of care’ scenario with your learning.
How do you sustain your creative practice?
I like to put myself in a situation where, if the creative urge strikes, I have everything I need, readily available. I can’t always guarantee that I can have easy access to my painting gear, but I always have sketchbooks, graphite, charcoal and pastel pencils with me wherever I go. I have literally been known to keep as many as seven sketchbooks in my car.
Do you have a project you are currently working on?
I usually have multiple projects on the go at any given time. The most prominent at the moment is a collaborative piece with an international collector. This particular painting is both an homage to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and awesome women throughout time. It is a graphic interpretation of the Rose Window with 32 (two-inch) portraits. There will also be a reference to the elements, love, hope, peace and the nine Greek muses. There is an online campaign promoting the ‘Notre Dames’ Project (we know that it should be ‘Nos Dames’, but we like the play on words) where each Dame is “revealed” with a synopsis regarding how they impacted the world.
Are your skills and approach to creativity transferable into ‘other’ fields in your life?
I think for me the more relevant question is “Are the other fields of my life transferable to my creativity?” My time at TLC was spent transitioning from introducing creativity to my life into every facet of my life revolving around creativity. All of my employment bar one job (I have four) are creativity and art-based. My personal life is dedicated to creativity in every way. In terms of my goals; long and short term, coping mechanisms and hobbies. I can’t think of any area of my life that isn’t driven by a need to create.
What's been a highlight of your recent creative journey?
My ‘Wow’ moment was securing artist residencies in a gallery in the South of France and my absolute dream residency in Tuscany, Italy. I had allowed myself a year to try and obtain an elusive European artist residency and was amazed to get two.
What advice would you give people starting out at TLC and wanting to pursue a creative pathway?
Make the most of every opportunity given you. Utilise the connections available. If there is a workshop, go. If there is an artist talk, attend it. The more knowledge you can glean from people, the better. Identify small, achievable goals and go for them. And possibly most importantly, if you’re comfortable in what you’re doing, you’re probably not growing, so always be aware of what your next step could be.
What are your creative ambitions? Where would you like to be in five years?
My creative ambition is to either do an international artist residency every two years and/or become a self-sustaining visual artist in Florence.