An Emily Carr graduate and jewelry maker shares her experience
By Alexis Zygan, Staff Writer
Recently, Quinlan turned giraffe and cheetah toys into earrings.
“Creation is my poetry,” explains Aurora Quinlan in an interview with the Other Press. Even though she never intended for her hobby to grow into a career by any means, the presence of painting as her saving grace propelled Quinlan to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Emily Carr University. Her preferred medium is acrylic on stretched canvas or recycled paper; she also handmakes jewellery and creates digital collages.
When she first started to experience hip pain at the age of 14-years old, a friend introduced her to an art program to replace dance. Her creative pursuits keep her mind off the pain. The artist tells us, “I’ve been able to get through a lot just by expressing myself; working out the emotions on canvas has helped.” Her artistic approach combines mindfulness with materials found in nature, and in particular in organic shapes and deep colours. Quinlan says, “I allow whatever is in my head at the moment to guide the piece.”
Schoolwork and painting were made challenging by the superfluous assigned readings. In the end, Quinlan valued the community. “Having peers and people to speak about my art was very beneficial and drove my practice in the right direction.” During her studies, Quinlan had the opportunity to explore exhibits at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Hopefully one day, Quinlan will follow Emily Carr alum Douglas Coupland in exhibiting her creative works at Vancouver Art Gallery.
As Quinlan reflects on what she has learned about herself over the years of creating art as a hobby and professionally, she states that “it’s okay to have a lull in inspiration and not always be producing [art projects] because that is how humans work. I used to put so much pressure instead of taking time to express myself. I wanted full outcomes rather than letting the art happen.”
Quinlan is currently working on a mixed-media series of digital collages. Collecting materials as if she was doing a paper collage. “I am inspired by collage and found materials,” she explains.
The possibility for unique found images on the internet is endless. To limit her threshold, Quinlan uses the mobile app PicsArt, designed for sharing and editing photos. The content on the app allows her to play around with stickers, and doodles on the interface. As in, recycling found images and breathing new life into them through the storytelling art form of collage. The layout and arrangement of these found photos enhance the theme. Quinlan plans to use these digital collages as inspiration for paintings eventually. Currently, this project is in its beginning stages. However, Quinlan shares, “I am writing a proposal to submit to a show at Fifty Fifty Arts Collective.”
Post-graduation, Quinlan started making jewelry and selling it to friends and customers. Her jewelry-making approach is similar to visual art. She visits craft and thrift stores and purchases trinkets to decorate ears—primarily obtaining second-hand material, reducing waste, and fostering creativity. Recently, Quinlan turned giraffe and cheetah toys into earrings. Creation comes second to finding interesting trinkets to use—whether by colour, texture, or pattern.
In “don’t go,” the image weaves together text, funky spirals, and paint splatters. The combination of these elements creates a visually stimulating image. Find Aurora on her art Instagram at handle perpetuallypainting, or her jewellery Instagram moonhead_co.