This month we partner with London-based illustrator Alanah Sarginson. Alanah is a London-based illustrator whose pieces merge her sensitivities with the beauty she finds in nature. Alanah says her May art “connects to the theme of Simplicity through its very stripped back representation of growth…[it’s] a simple mindmap of what growth can feel like.”
For a little more about Alanah, here’s a short Q&A!
Where is home for you?
What is your definition of a successful life?
A successful life is one that aligns with your spirit. It’s not ever a destination, nor is it ever going to feel completely perfect, but it’s a life that you want to wake up and work on every day. It’s for that reason that I feel successful now! Even when I have days where I feel overwhelmed or generally down, I’m grateful that I feel those things while living a life that I’ve chosen for myself.
Describe your perfect day.
It would be a day in the summer, and I’d wake up early, have a nice breakfast with my housemates. I’d sit outside a coffee shop, read some philosophy, do some art, eat a pan au chocolat with an oat milk latte. Maybe go for a walk in nature with a friend, then have some time left over to cook a nice meal before going out with my friends in a beer garden while it’s still light.
My dream is to live a bit like my favourite poem in the world – The Orange by Wendy Cope! Just living peacefully and with content.
How did you get into design?
As cliche as it is, I’ve been drawing and designing ever since I can remember! I’ve been posting my art on my Instagram account since I was 13, and have just gradually morphed from a girl with a love for drawing to a young professional illustrator. I have to thank all of the people and companies that have believed in me along my journey, as it’s really been them that have given me the opportunity and confidence to push myself and get my passion out into the world.
Where do you find inspiration?
I get a lot of inspiration from my studies in philosophy, especially (and possibly surprisingly) philosophy of science, particularly physics. I’m really drawn to visualizing relations, not only between people, but between objects and concepts. On the other side of things, I also get a lot of inspiration from moral philosophy, where questions of how to lead a good life really guide the purpose of my work.
What’s your dream design project?
Gosh, I don’t think I could pin down one! I think one that’s out in the world for my friends and family to find would be so cool.
Which designers or thinkers influence/inspire you?
Matisse and Picasso are my first two classical inspirations. I credit Manjit Thapp for getting me into digital illustration – I actually commented on her Instagram during A-Levels for advice before I even got my iPad and Apple Pencil! Nowadays I just scroll through Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration.
What was the inspiration behind this design?
My works are rarely products of any single inspiration or idea, but I can look at the piece in retrospect and say that it reflects my emotional state during summer 2020. It was a time of naive hope as the first lockdown measures were starting to ease, and it felt like there was this rebirth happening in society as we all reconnected. On top of that, I’d just finished my first year exams at university so I felt quite free to unwind, so I feel like this period of my life was just one of relaxation and looking ahead into an exciting future.
In what ways does the theme of Simplicity play out in your life?
Simplicity runs through how I try to organize my life as well as how I go about my work, both as an artist and a student. I’m a bit of an organization freak, so I try my best to avoid any clutter in my life – whether that’s physical, mental, or emotional. I think having simple habits, attitudes, and approaches to things makes life so much easier to handle. It’s so rewarding breaking down something so seemingly complex into its smaller, simpler parts.
At the moment, what is your favorite…
Color: Baby blue
Food: Garlic and chili oil ramen noodles
Song: Ghost Town by Sassy 009
Quote: “Healthy minds make sexy bodies” – a lyric by Car Seat Headrest