Alayne Spafford is an abstract painter living in Edmonton, Alberta. She did her Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honors at the University of Saskatchewan, majoring in printmaking and drawing, graduating with distinction and distinguished exhibition.
Read further below as we catch up with Alayne Spafford to learn more about her processes involved in her unique work, as well as where she draws her inspiration from.
What brought you into the art world?
“Even as a child I was fascinated by colour combinations. I remember colouring something when I was around seven and I randomly put certain shades of pink and green beside each other. The combination was mind blowing to me. I couldn’t believe that putting two colors side by side could be that magical (in my mind anyway) and I ran around the house like a crazy kid showing everyone the amazing thing that I had discovered. Unfortunately no one else had the same reaction, but for me it was the moment I realized that I saw colours differently and I have been combining colors and making art ever since.
When I was younger I had a variety of vastly different jobs from working on a fish farm near Alaska to being a beach cocktail waitress in the Cayman Islands. During that time I was always creating and drawing but it wasn’t until I moved back to Saskatchewan that I started studying art in earnest. I received a BFA from the University of Saskatchewan in printmaking and drawing and then studied art, textiles and weaving at Concordia University as well as the Centre de Metier d’Art en Construction Textiles in Montreal. From there I spent half a decade with the Cirque du Soleil where I worked in the costume department: hand painting and dyeing costumes, as well as lacemaking. From Montreal I moved to Edmonton, Alberta and have been focused on painting full time ever since.”
“I want people to look at my work and view it in its most basic, primal sense: color, shape and texture. How these elements are balanced evolves but always remains true to my artistic aesthetic.” Alayne Spafford
Tell us about your works, what materials do you use?
“I like to work in different mediums and work in series. My large canvases begin with collage. The collage elements are often historical, personal, or ephemera. For example, I often use a century old newspaper found in the wall of my house, vintage wall paper, old crochet work done by my mother, items collected on trips, or remnants of costumes from Cirque du Soleil. The first layer of the painting is generally collage and a quick wash of random colors, with subsequent layers built up in oil, exposing and covering base elements until a balance of color and form emerges organically. I also do smaller raw edged canvases worked on simultaneously in groups. These tend to be looser and incorporate more mixed media such as spray paint and pencil.
I also work in sketch books which began as a place to collect sketches of ideas, images of art and other things that inspired me. By removing images that had been pasted into the books I discovered remnants of the originals, glue, and marks. I found that the fragments themselves were quite beautiful and achieved effects that could not have been obtained in any other way. These fragments became a starting point for new studies. Working with acrylic, oil, spray paint and pencil and over 20 books, a process evolved. Drawing, painting and collaging. Building layers. Returning to them days later when paint dried, or years later when time provided a new perspective or inspiration. The books have transformed from a source of inspiration into unique works of their own.”
Where do you draw your inspiration from, what inspires you the most?
“For me inspiration is everywhere. I love fashion, design, music, magazines, knitting, hand dyed yarn, textures, nature, collecting rocks and shells, the work of other artists. The list goes on and on. I honestly can get overwhelmed by the things that inspire me. In my spare time I find myself constantly making things; jewelry, knitting and crocheting, interior design, and when my kids were younger, a lot of crafts. I find it all correlates in one way or another. Music is another big form of inspiration for me. I take acoustic guitar lessons and listen to a lot of Country/Americana music. I’m very aware that country music and my style of art often live in completely separate worlds, but there it is.”
My work is intentionally non-representational and titled in number sequences specifically for that reason. I want people to look at my work and view it in its most basic, primal sense: color, shape and texture. How these elements are balanced evolves but always remains true to my artistic aesthetic.
“My hope is that my work evokes an instinctual emotional response in the viewer in a similar way that I respond to these basic elements. My style is simultaneously loose but structured with definite elements of design and a big emphasis on color. And never trying to be anything more than just what it is.”
Where have your most memorable exhibitions been? Do you have upcoming exhibitions you'd like to share?
“I have had exhibitions across Canada. I am looking forward to a solo exhibition at SOPA Fine Arts in Kelowna, British Columbia in 2019 and am currently working on a feature of my sketchbooks in Columbia University Journal of Literature and Art, New York.”