Alice Lancaster is a 29-year-old artist living and working in New York City. She has been an illustrator for Nylon Magazine, designed a limited edition t-shirt for American Apparel and has shown her work in various group shows, including Miami Art Basel’s NO CLASS, the National Arts Club’s It’s an Invasion, and Gynolandscape. Alongside features in i-D, Oyster, and Paper Magazine, Lancaster has also collaborated with the likes of Nasty Gal, StyleLikeU and Opening Ceremony. PETRIe contributor Erin Kelleher speaks with Lancaster to uncover her creative process.
Erin Kelleher: You’ve designed for various brands. Do you have a favourite design that you’ve done?
Alice Lancaster: I really liked the huge neon piece [titled Period Piece] based on a drawing of a vagina that I did for the American Apparel shirt in collaboration with Petra Collins. It was shown in a group show, Gynolandscape, at Gallery Four81 in September 2013 here in New York City.
EK: Speaking of New York, where are you from originally?
AL: I’m originally from St. Louis, Missouri, and I’ve lived in New York for about two-and-a-half years. It was only after my move to New York that I really began to produce a lot of work and to take myself seriously as a painter. Moving here was the push I needed. I lived in Chicago for about five years, and I hardly made any art the whole time. There wasn’t that sense of urgency there that exists here in New York.
EK: What does that "sense of urgency" entail for you? I mean, what is your creative process like?
AL: I set aside four days out of every week to work on art, but despite having all that time, there is still a lot of procrastination going on. I think I work best when I have some projects or assignments to work on because it forces me to use my time better with that sense of having a deadline. Usually, I’ll get up around 10am, have some breakfast and coffee, watch a little television, and then start to work. I am usually working on a couple of paintings at once as well as another project in a different medium.
EK: Many of your paintings are quite provocative, at least according to general opinion (like the vagina drawing you did with Petra for the American Apparel shirt that you talked about earlier; that one caused a pretty big stir). Do you see them this way? Did you set out to be a controversial artist?
AL: I find it so funny that anyone would consider my paintings controversial. Artists have been painting reclining nude women for centuries. I think they are slightly provocative, but more than anything, I think of those pieces as paintings of confident women who are comfortable with their bodies. I never set out to be anything controversial.