2016, collage20.1 x 45cm

“When I grow up, I want to be an archaeologist”, I used to say. I longed to spend my life unearthing old treasures. However, an archaeologist must preserve their findings as relics of an old life, trapped in a replica era in the Natural History Museum. An artist reserves the right to continue the life of these found objects; or at the very least I do.
I’ve always been an explorer, so I let that guide my practice. I find starting a new piece like a personal treasure hunt. I find inspiration in the stories attached to objects, and through my art, propose the next chapter.
In my latest chapter I have tried to depict psychological states like anxiety and helplessness.In dreams one can encounter shadows that feel like embodiments of mental states and attitudes that the ego forces you to repress in day-to-day life – Karl Jung calls this the ‘shadow self’.In my work I try to portray the stages of meeting the shadow self. It often enters my paintwork, whether in physical of abstract form. For that reason, my paintings allow me to convey a sense of myself that I cannot in person.
I find empty spaces and objects also harbor ghosts, which I try to portray through the use of abstract, liquid forms. Like shadows in dreams often make light of one’s state of mind, the shapes I create combine the objects and places I encounter in my lived experience with the ramblings of my subconscious. As a young artist I try to keep an open mind to all media and artist’s tools. In my practice books, clay, herbs, and paint are all media for making art.
I am also enchanted by stories of the past, particularly the ones that live on until now - old wives’ tales. Folklore, witchcraft, and herbal medicines also appear in my work. Underlying each of these themes I find a tension between preservation and transformation. Every effort to preserve an ancient myth inevitably transforms the thing itself. An archaeologist might not appreciate this school of thought, but I’m an artist." - Alaia de Santis

Anatoly Kryvolap

About the artist

Alaia de Santis (b. 1999) – young contemporary artist. Having been featured in numerous exhibitions and gallery shows across London and New York for her films, paintings, and collages, Alaia is a leading example of how unrelenting dedication to a craft you truly love can amount to success. Recently recognised by Forbes as a ‘rising star to watch’ within the art world, her talent is evident.
Through a vast combination of mediums including oil paint, clay, collage, and film, Alaia explores the history of popular images and iconography, attributing her explorative nature to the multi-faceted way in which she approaches her work.
‘I’ve always been an explorer, so I let that guide my practice,’ she begins. ‘As a young artist, I keep a diverse and open mind to all media, often challenging my own understanding of an artist’s tools" - Alaia de Santi. Looking like a seventies magazine spread come to life in an abstract barrage of architecture and fashion, Alaia’s most popular pieces are her collages.