Ane Alfeiran

As spring flowers bloom and nature is awash with colour, we visit the vibrant studio of Mexican-born artist Ane Alfeiran to explore her colourful work, rhythm and inspiration.

Even with an imagination as vivid as artist Ane Alfeiran’s, her life today looks very different to how she could have imagined. She talks to The Floristry about her ongoing journey of self-discovery through working as a self-taught artist, which became a full-time commitment only after being gifted art supplies for her birthday five years ago. But it has since facilitated her profound relationship with abstraction and representation.

Ane’s creative expression now seems inevitable, owing to her evident passion. Her vibrant art is enriched by lived experience, using painting and drawing to make potent blends of colour and texture. She aims to stimulate the viewer’s own internal responses and allow them to find a personal connection with her signature imagery, to interpret what it means for them.

This season, we’re taking inspiration from Ane’s strong kinship with her environment and how the world’s dynamic rhythms inform her art, which combines bold visuals with traditional practices to guide her through the unknown. Sounds like the ideal energy with which to enter another spring.

How did your journey as an artist begin?

I was born and raised in Mexico and moved to Beijing 11 years ago, thinking I would come to Asia for a year, but ended up staying a lot longer! I moved to Hong Kong in 2013 and around five years ago I started dedicating more time to painting. It suddenly snowballed to the point I had to quit my day job to become a full time artist. I have always had a passion for the arts. I grew up in an artistic home, my mum is also an artist, so I guess it is in my blood.

What themes feature most prominently in your work?

I think most of my work has to do with human connections, our emotions, our path through life and death, our memories and most recently motherhood. I want my work to spark dialogues, internal and external, because it deals with the meaning of core existential topics, addresses emotions and matters of modern society and the diversity of global culture. As a Mexican that has traveled extensively, I have a view of the world that is constantly evolving. I am fascinated by the differences and similarities we have as humans and would like to keep exploring this, to open up dialogues in the Hong Kong community.

What are your favourite mediums to work in?

I love to experiment, but I mostly work with acrylic paint, markers and oil sticks. During the last two years I have incorporated embroidery into my work, having explored the rich history of traditional embroidery in Mexico. It has since helped me to better reflect on my subject matter, which I hope adds an extra layer and gives it deeper meaning.

“I have extremely lucid dreams and my art process is like meditation to me… The power and equilibrium of sounds, colours and rhythm flow together in a dynamic whole to depict emotions and passions.”

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I create visual art that turns everyday norms into dynamic pieces of aesthetic beauty. Everything inspires me, from my day-to-day life and the people I interact with, to music and even the weather; I never know when inspiration will strike or anticipate where it will come from. I believe life should be beautiful, I use layers of colour, shapes and gestures, and turn them into balanced representations that explore the human mind. I have extremely lucid dreams and my art process is like meditation to me – it helps me make sense of my thoughts, clear my mind and transform them into artistic representations. The power and equilibrium of sounds, colours and rhythm flow together in a dynamic whole to depict emotions and passions.

What inspires you most?

When I first started, my biggest influences were Picasso and Basquiat. However as I have grown as an artist, I’ve explored different concepts and my inspirations are constantly evolving. I have found life to be my biggest influence – all the art I create is a reflection of my own experiences at any specific moment in my life. Sometimes deeply personal things influence my work, such as motherhood, whereas other times it could be a broad theme that affects everyone, such as the impact of climate change. Travel has likewise always been a deep well for my creative work. Lately, I’ve been inspired a lot by my family, and my new series has taken a lot from the poems of Nikkita Gil.

Can you tell us a bit about your creative process, from idea generation to creating your work?

Whenever I find an interesting subject or something that inspires me, I usually start to draw and record a lot of my thoughts on the subject in my sketchbooks. Once I decide I want to actually create something inspired by that, I do some research on the topic, create a concept I like and decide on a colour palette for the artwork. This usually ends up being modified as I go. Once I have this in my mindset, I start the actual work. The art creation is a very instinctive process. I let my subconscious do the work, without overanalyzing my actions or movements.

How do you weave nature and flowers into your life?

I find myself taking pictures and admiring Hong Kong on a daily basis. Walking in the streets is a constant inspiration, finding incredibly large trees intertwined with the city concrete, and flowers growing regardless of all the limitations built around them. I’m constantly amazed by the resilience of nature.

“I want my work to spark dialogues, internal and external, because it deals with the meaning of core existential topics, addresses emotions and matters of modern society and global culture.”

When working from your studio, how do you create an inspiring workspace?

I remove unnecessary distractions. This means no television and no computer or admin work in the studio if I can help it. I always try to create a space that encourages my creativity. I have a lot of artbooks at hand, plus photographs and artworks on the walls. One of my favorite sources of inspiration is music. Whether it be a classical concert, classic rock or pop music, having music playing helps me to focus and fuels my creativity.

How would you describe your personal interior style?

While I love colour, as you can see from most of my artworks, I tend to prefer white in my personal and creative space. It allows me to play with touches of colour and I can change things out for different seasons or moods. I particularly like changing the art on my walls and my textiles to keep things fresh! I also love collecting objects, artifacts, antiques, art and sculptures from my travels so they are all over my home and my studio. And one thing that I always have to have nearby are books!

What is your most poignant flower memory?

My grandmother used to grow massive hydrangeas in her yard. She was very proud of them and they still always remind me of her, which is why hydrangeas are my favourite flower.

What do you love most about spring?

There is something about spring light that is very special! I love that the weather gets warmer. In Mexico I love to see all the Jacaranda trees blossom!

Follow Ane’s creative journey @anealfeiran