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Artist Story

desert mood board w beetle

Finding My Place in the Desert

By | Artist Story, Home and Interior

If you’ve followed AlanaKayART very long, you know that I love bright colors. It is entirely possible there is teal running through my veins. But I also love a challenge. I am currently finishing a project that has challenged me in all the right ways.

Last fall, I had the opportunity to complete a 17 painting installation for the Black Hawk Country Club in Houston. My artwork was a departure from the more traditional artwork they were used to, but the owners and members really felt as if my paintings made the newly renovated clubhouse come to life.

In fact, they liked my work so much that in January, Black Hawk’s ownership group commissioned me to pour 10 (very) large paintings for The Gallery Golf Club in Marana, Arizona. When I visited The Gallery, I was inspired by the peaks and canyons of the The Tortolita Mountains and the breathtaking colors of the Sonoran Desert. I couldn’t turn around without finding some new and amazing color. The only thing is, the colors in the desert were a very different pallet from the bright colors that normally speak to me.

Desert Sunset

I flew home and immediately started putting together moodboards, drawing inspiration everywhere from desert sunsets to a beetle — yes you heard me, a beetle.desert mood board w beetle

As I surrounded myself with the sights and textures of the desert and began to pour, something happened. I found a deepened appreciation for deep blue, bronze and fiery orange. It was a fantastic reminder that our color preferences are not set in stone. Someone like me, who loves all things bold and bright, can still find beauty on the other side of the color spectrum. It was also affirmation that different colors produce different emotions.

Teal and pink speak my language. They are energetic, confident and fearless and a little bit loud. But these ten paintings reminded me that there is also a time for rest, solace and quiet. A time to be still, take deep breaths and watch the sun set.

This installation, along with some of my other work, will be on display at Press Cafe in Fort Worth on March 30 during the Fort Worth Art Dealers Association Gallery Night. This will be your only chance to see these paintings in Texas before they head to Arizona the next day. I would love to meet you and to show you these new paintings inspired by the wonders of the desert.

The installation will kick off with a Meet the Artist Event at The Gallery on April 5 from 4-5:30 p.m.

AlanaKayART Goes Country ~ The story behind Wild Rags

By | Art as Fashion, Artist Story, Trends, Wild Rags

Alana with sheepI am a born and raised Texas country girl. I know, this fashion loving, gluten free, yogi doesn’t seem like someone who grew up picking rocks, showing sheep, and chasing coyotes away from the family flock. But underneath this designer exterior is grit built on 86 acres outside of Clifton, TX.

I shared my plot of land with hundreds of sheep, 50 cats, stray dogs, a handful of rabbits and pigs, a couple of (pre-yoga) goats, a llama, and a real live ass that wandered our way — the animal kind. I spent my days romping with the animals, swimming in the giant corn silos with my brother, and stomping through the creek with bacon on a string catching crawdads.

My dad was the brains and the muscle behind the operation. His whole life is a story of wide open skies and God’s

Alana and Tom Duke Conversationcreatures. He can build a damn good fence and engineer miles of winding shoots and corral systems to get your animals where you need them to go. He also has a knack for breeding impressive Suffolk Sheep, so much so that he had his own brand back in the day — Duke Suffolks.

Like a lot of teenagers, I became bored with everything that surrounded me, which in my case was the country. I was obsessed with all things city. My small town was miles away from the places and the things I wanted to be, but I continually dreamed of trading my life in the country for the concrete jungle.  

As so it went. I left for college, moved to the city, got married and pursued my dream of art and fashion design, and Alana and Tom Duke standingmy dad downsized the farm and became a cowboy. It seemed as if our paths might be drifting apart. But that’s the thing about pathways. Sometimes just when it seems like they are diverging, they cross.

My dad has never been one to care much for fashion, but once he started spending his free time as a cowboy, his closet was filled with vests, hats, bolos, scarves, belts, jeans, overalls, and boots. So many boots. Then one Christmas, his list included Wild Rags. What the heck was a Wild Rag!? As always, Google came to my rescue, making sure they were under the tree for him come Christmas morning. He got a lot of use out of them, as I’ve come to find out that most cowboys and cowgirls do. If you who are like me and have no idea what they are, I will save you a Google search. A Wild Rag is a scarf that cowboys use for everything from warmth to first aid and calming horses. They are usually silk and square.

The first time my dad saw the over-sized scarves I designed, his wheels began to spin. He started asking around on Alana and Tom Duke hugtrail rides and the rodeo circuit to find out what other people thought about putting my art on a Wild Rag. After getting plenty of positive feedback, we revealed AlanaKayART Wild Rags at the Cheyenne Rodeo. You can see the cowboys and cowgirls below wearing my Wild Rags. My favorite model, of course, is my daddy, Tom Duke, the inspiration behind this project.

Life is funny. I have been running from the country since I graduated high school. But when a place shapes you for nearly 20 years, you really never lose it. The country made me tough, taught me how to keep things alive, ingrained the value of hard work and determination into my soul, and taught me how to dream.  

Every Wild Rag you wear is a piece of one of my dreams.  I hope that they inspire you and make you feel as bold as the colors they hold.

Cheyenne Rodeo Wild Rags

AlanaKayART Turns ONE!

By | Artist Story

 

Here I am… ONE YEAR into building a brand. I have had so many people ask me how this started? It started with a vision, an idea, something I have about 422 times per day. But on July 15th 2017, I picked an idea that I could execute in a relatively small amount of time. I threw some cash at all of the products, which my husband rolled his eyes at because in his mind he was thinking… “Here she goes again.” But he was helpful that day, as usual, and I was able to create a one-of-a-kind desk that I still work from today! But this idea didn’t start as “I want to build a brand!” It just started as something I wanted to do for me.

Last July can only be explained as a Creative Awakening. I did a Paint & Pour type class on our family vacation. We painted a small boat on a lake with some trees and I think it was at night, so the colors were dark. It really wasn’t my type of art, I do not like to make things look “real.” After that I came home and had the desk idea, executed that and put the process on Facebook. You guys LOVED it! And asked if I could put it on canvas? I wasn’t sure but I did have some canvases laying around so I used my extra product (lets be real, bought additional product!) and did my first 3 paintings. I painted in the 100 degree Texas temps, outside, under my gazebo with the mosquito nets closed to try and keep out as many bugs and as much debris as possible. The first 3 paintings were: Badass, Warrior, and Escaping the Storm. Remember those? Badass was my first “commission” but my friend Caytie gave me no direction, just said paint me something. SWEET! At the end of July, I did an Abstract Painting workshop put on by Laura Mayberry. She is a fellow Fort Worth Abstract Artist. I LOVE her work! That night was more fuel on the fire that was my creative awakening in the making.

Social media is a magical tool because I posted the paintings, you guys loved them, and a friend of a friend found me.

“You’re an artist? I am looking for a few abstracts like the ones in your photos.”

WOAH, am I an Artist??

“Yes! Taking orders for custom pieces currently.”

WHAT DID I JUST SAY!!?? I don’t know what I’m doing… But it’s fun!! And I can totally do this.

And just like that, I had my first GIANT commission. 48×72″ Ride the Wave. This client has turned into a friend and is my most creative client who gives me the most challenging projects to figure out. Like that one time I had to plank to reach the middle of one of the paintings I was pouring for him. (Thank you The Pilates Concept for making me strong!)

Want to book a commission with me? CLICK HERE

Around this time I also decided to say yes to my first art fair, Arts Goggle. I remember reaching out to an artist friend after signing up for this and said, “How many pieces do you think I will need for this?” She responded with something crazy like 100 and I was like… ummmmmm… what have I gotten my self into now!? I decided to just do as much as I could and figure it out.

Arts Goggle turned out to be a Divine Appointment. This is the day and place that my relationship with Brookwood in Georgetown (BiG) began. There in front of Craftwork Coffee I met Erin Kiltz, the Founder of BiG. (PS. Her son owns Craftwork!) My conversation with Erin led to inviting her and 2 other team members into my studio and then they invited me to be the Featured Collaborative Artist for the Art Auction. WHAT!?

This was where I was like… huh?… I am certain there are many many other artists out there that would be more qualified? Anyway, I said YES! And then spent two days pouring with the Citizens at BiG. You can learn more about our work together here. The paintings we created together raised almost $70,000 in their live auction!! I just could NOT believe it. I had an out of body experience that night as the numbers climbed higher and higher. But then I remembered the Divine Appointment with Erin in front of Craftwork. It was part of the plan. Not my plan, but God’s plan.

Photo by Anna Kraft Photography

The Fall of 2017 was a time of fast and furious work. My friend Jaime was so intrigued with each painting and the process, she was often in my studio dreaming up colors and on a mission to figure out how to turn the drips from my paintings into something worth keeping. Through those conversations the Art Pop was born! I catch the drips from my work in silicone molds. No two Art Pops are alike which is super fun! You can use them as coasters, desk art, paper weights… really anything you could dream up. I sold over 100 Art Pops before Christmas last year and I didn’t start making them until mid October. WOWZA! Make sure and order your Art Pops if you are longing for some. The gift giving season will be here before you know it.

I absolutely LOVE every single painting I ever do. I know, I know, you do too. 😉 So I was a little sad when it was time to give them to the client. Happy for a pay day but I put my soul and energy into each one so it is a piece of me that walks out the door. A light bulb went off last Fall and I dreamed up putting my art onto clothing. My passion is fashion so why not Art as Fashion!? The first product I was able to produce continues to be my best seller, leggings. I have been doing Pilates and Yoga 3-5 times per week for the last 2 years now and I was really tired of black leggings. BORING. Give me some inspiration! Some motivation! A reason to WANT to get up and workout!! Bright, colorful leggings will definitely do the trick. In fact, don’t just take my word for it, check out what Dorrie from the Senior Style Bible thinks. She is an 80 something yr old former Playboy Bunny who is also tired of the lame choices women her age have for fashion. Doesn’t she look FAB in AlanaKayART leggings!?

Photo by Creative Collab Las Vegas

Because I have 422 ideas or more per day, my brain just kept moving and dreaming. Which led me to other clothing items and searching for manufacturers. I sampled 12 different items from 10 different manufacturers and finally launched additional products that include a skirt, a scarf, and acrylic trays. Today there are more items in the works and I have to say, product development really fuels my soul. It makes me feel like a kid to dream up fun shapes, color combinations, and finished products.

Photo by Creative Collab Las Vegas

 

ONE YEAR ACCOMPLISHMENTS

30 large paintings

Dozens of smaller paintings

Hundreds of Art Pops

20 styles of leggings

3 skirts

3 scarves

2 tables

7 collaboration paintings with BiG

4 donated large paintings

Spread my wings to Las Vegas, Dallas, Houston, NYC, LA, Monaco

1 pour experience (you can book one!)

Countless sampled products not yet in production

Soon to begin the friends and family funding stage

 

A few people have reminded me recently of all that I have accomplished in one year. When you are living it, setting goals, and working it each day it is hard to see all that you have actually accomplished. But I do see it. And I am proud of it! The goal setter inside of me knows I am no where near where I want to be but if the first year is any indication of what is to come, thank goodness I renewed my passport. The AlanaKayART brand has taken me places I only dreamed of going before. People call me a Designer, a Fashion Designer. How freaking cool is that!? For you, maybe not that cool but for the little girl that made a dress out of a crocheted blanket and some hair bows it is amazing!

That’s ME! 7 or 8 yrs old =)

 

I am so excited to see what year two holds for AlanaKayART!! I fully accept that this was all in God’s plan all along. I would not have been ready for this without experiencing some other things in life first. I would not have had the time to really give it my all or want to give it my all if some really sad events had not changed my availability. I remember so many conversations with friends where I was feeling so antsy, so bored, like I should be accomplishing more. I really believed I was put on this earth for more so why wasn’t I doing more? I gave into His timing not my own and the next thing I know I was saying YES to crazy things I could have never dreamed up on my own!

CHEERS to AlanaKayART!! And a huge THANK YOU for all of you who continue to buy products, book commissions, send encouraging notes, and share my social media. You really are the fuel, my fuel. I cannot and will not ever do this on my own. I realize that I am where I am today because of other people. Happy Birthday to my dream in the making!

 

My Resin Story

By | Artist Story

The finished desk!

The very first piece by AlanaKayART. This is my personal desk. When I poured this first piece I had no idea what was to come. I mixed the resin wrong, so it didn’t cure properly and every day when I sit at this desk to communicate with a client or design an #artasfashion piece I am reminded of that soft resin under all of my papers and notebooks. The imperfection does not serve as a terrible reminder but rather a reminder that resin is my match. I am a recovering perfectionist and control freak. You cannot hold that tightly to your resin plans. Does that frustrate me? Sometimes. But I am enjoying the journey that resin is taking me on and I will not try to write the story, I will live out the story.

Torching out the bubbles to leave behind glassy perfection.

What is truly amazing is that in the last year, I have gone from commissioning work here and there, to creating my new brand of art as fashion. While it started with leggings it has transformed into a concept ranging from home fashion to stunning scarves turned dresses! I don’t know what I will create next, or what painting it will be based off of, but I can’t wait to find out.

So far, Alana Kay Art has taken twists & turns and given me unexpected ideas for new products that have turned into my favorites. My hope is that with whatever product you purchase, you will see the beauty in it throughout your days and it will cause you to be calm in the chaos, energized or inspired.

Copyrighted Image. No use without permission.