Contributed by Sarah Cook . Upon meeting Alanna at her cozy artisanal condo in downtown Toronto, I immediately noticed her t-shirt with her quintessential drawing of “Scissors”; as humble in their expressive originality, as is she.
Of course, I had to ask her about the iconic scissor drawing… and how it came to fruition? Alanna recalled how she would ‘cut and paste’, quite literally from the Sears catalog as a young child. Loving the ‘feel’ of cutting and then visualizing ‘how’ these thoughts and processes would come to life. “The scissors is an homage to my mom and also a statement on the ability to make art within limited means she was a wonderfully supportive mother; she could tell I was creative from an early age, she kept me well supplied with crayons, paper and of course scissors…”
Sarah – “Who are your biggest influences in the art-world?”
Alanna- “Many of my influences are not from the art-world but from other sources such as textiles, graphic design and folk art. But certainly, early Andy Warhol, Egon Schiele, and most of all; the famous Czech illustrator Miroslav Sasek.” His book ‘This is Paris’ (originally published in 1959), is representative of the illustrative work that obviously resonated with Alanna from an early age…most certainly Alanna’s biggest illustrative influence – such a wonderfully whimsical world he portrays.
Sarah – “You used to live in Cabbagetown; do you still consider yourself a Cabbagetowner?”
Alanna – “Yes very much so – in fact, my partner Myles & I like to say that we live in the Greater Cabbagetown Region”… I love this quote from Alanna and will be citing it often, and of course giving Alanna all the credit!!! This was her ‘favorite question’ of mine, and her answer, mine as well!”
Sarah – “Knowing your abilities, your creative flow and your boundaries are fundamental in establishing yourself as a successful artist/ entrepreneur/ businesswoman; what have you learned through your creative process?”
Alanna – “being able to define yourself according to what you’re not is very important”. I subscribe to Alice Roosevelt Longworth simple philosophy- “Fill what is empty. Empty what is full. Scratch where it itches”.
My take away from all Alanna’s creations in her magnificent art filled condo was my new favorite ‘Boss Woman’ – she is all-encompassing; Her presence… the stance, the glasses in hand, the practical shoes, the cropped linen pants, the rolled up sleeve…ready to work! “She’s a strong kiss ass woman- wearing sensible shoes!” There are many “Boss Women” in the GCR ‘Doing Great Things’ – let’s show our support!
A big ‘Boss Woman’ thank you to Alanna for letting me into her fantastic space…and a peek into her wonderful world.
You can view her artwork & website at www.alannacavanagh.com
And Instagram Alanna_cavanagh