Black Woman Creator: Alana Ladson
Alana Ladson Art is adding more color, melanin, and vibrancy to the world with beautiful pieces of art! Alana Ladson Art caters to adding more diversity and curls to the art world by making affordable prints, pins, paintings & stickers of beautiful diverse people of color and more. Each piece is is aimed to make the viewer smile & feel happy, blessed and peaceful! We spoke with Alana about her art and creating.
Black Girls Create: What do you create?
I would say I create Black Girl Magic. I create beauty, I create a mirror for people to look at themselves in. I’m a nerd and I’ve always liked whimsical things, colors, butterflies, flowers, all types of girly things. I feel like I didn’t get enough of that when I was younger and I feel like there’s still not enough of it out there, of women of color just being beautiful and enjoying things and being soft and happy, so I guess I create happiness.
BGC: What made you want to move past consumption and into creating?
I was always a person who took things into my own hands. I don’t like waiting for people or things to happen. I feel like if you don’t see what you want to see, then you have to create it. I always said to myself, when I was younger I wanted to be a fashion designer or a veterinarian - which have nothing to do with each other - but best believe if I wanted it, I would’ve manifested it. That was always in my plan, to just do the things that I wanted to do, create the things that I wanted to see. Because if you don’t do it, no one’s ever going to have your perfect vision of what you want. You just have to go out there and do it. So that’s what I’ve been doing.
BGC: What made you get into graphic design?
I’ve been drawing for a really long time. Ever since I was two years old I was drawing little stick people, and they had no likeness whatsoever. Which is why practice makes perfect. I’ve always been into the traditional style of drawing. Since digital drawing is not that old yet, when I first discovered it - I used to go on this site called deviantart, and look at the artists and see what they did and was like, “Oh my God, I’ve gotta step my game up.” At first, I didn’t know it was digital drawing, I thought it was traditional, so it was intimidating. But when I found out I could do the same thing, I immediately tried to get on it, and I didn’t know how to use Photoshop at first, I couldn’t even change the color on a paintbrush. But I’ve always been doing traditional, but digital just started a couple of years ago, and I practiced Photoshop, Illustrator, and drawing on my iPad and I got better at it, so I was able to make a business out of it about two years ago.
BGC: Who or what inspires you to do what you do?
My mom and my dad, even my brother, who’s a lot younger than me. They push me a lot, and they tell me things that, you know, I may not want to hear. They tell me the truth. They make sure that I’m on track, doing the right thing, but also they support my dream. My mom has always been a strong woman. She does so much, it really inspired me to go out there, because I have a job and I do my art on the side. It really inspired me to go out there and do both.
BGC: How do you balance creating with the rest of your life?
It can be hard sometimes but I find that I have to I allow myself to take some time for me. And I gotta tell you, comparison is the killer of all happiness, I don’t know who said that, but it’s so true on all levels. Like if you look at someone who sleeps five hours a day and you’re sleeping seven, you might say to yourself “oh man, I’m sleeping way too much.” I try not to do that, I try to let those things go, and take care of me the way that I need to be taken care of, whether that’s extra sleep or taking naps or getting a latte while I’m on break. You just have to do you, that’s how I keep a balance. Taking care of myself and making sure I talk to other people, because I can definitely be a bit of a hermit crab. It’s hard to push yourself, but a lot of the times it’s so worth it.
BGC: Why is it important as a black person to create?
It’s tough when you don’t see a lot of people that look like you in so many different spaces. When I was little, I’d watch TV and I’d watch cartoons, which were the only thing I liked, so you can cut out any real-world shows right now, because I didn’t watch them. I watched The Proud Family and I loved the show, but I still kind of felt like there wasn’t anyone who captured me, and I felt that way in so many different realms, like magazines, books, TV shows. When I was younger, I didn’t even get into the people who created them, because to me it was just content and I was just looking at it. Now that I’m looking into the people who create things, there’s still not a lot of people who look like me out there. I feel like if someone’s going to do something, then it might as well be me. What’s stopping me from creating the stuff that I want to create? That’s why It’s important for me because I’m black, I like creating cool stuff, I’ll do it, why not?
BGC: Do you have any advice for young creators or ones who are just starting?
My advice is to start, just do it. It’s just one thing after another when you start to really question yourself. Don’t jump into things blindly, but it’s a good idea to just push yourself to do what you want to do, instead of asking a million questions like “are people going to like this?” “is anyone going to find this interesting?” “what am i going to do?”. Just do something really small, and see how you like it, and then build upon what you did. And then you can start building an audience, creating more content. Things just flow along after you take that first step.
BGC: Do you have any future projects?
Definitely. I’ve got one book that I’m working on based on fattyuni.com. That’s a little fat unicorn that I made. It’s like my child. I’m also writing and illustrating on a separate children’s book. And I’m coming out with more enamel pins, because now that I’ve made two, I’m kind of addicted and I need to make more.