When I first saw some of Alina Tang’s work, I was so amazed by the colours and the energy it has. It instantly makes you feel great and like there are so many colours in this world you haven’t noticed before.
Since she just opened a studio in Amsterdam where you can see and buy some of her work, or join some of Alina’s workshops, I thought it would be a great occasion to introduce her work to my readers.
Meet Alina Tang
1/ Can you tell me a bit about yourself
Hi! My name is Alina Tang. I was born and grew up in sunny Perth, Western Australia, and currently living in a loving Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
I studied Fine Arts at University and majored in printmaking. And alongside my studies, I managed a print studio and shop called Beau Est Mien with a small team of creative women. There we taught workshops, sold our work, did markets, and worked on all kinds of collaborative design projects.
Nowadays I’m still working as an artist and working on opening a small studio & shop space here in Amsterdam.
2/ How did you end up in Amsterdam?
The Netherlands is a special place for me. My parents were refugees who left Vietnam in the mid-1970s. My mum’s family decided to build a new life in the Netherlands, and they settled in Maastricht (and then Tilburg).
She ended up meeting my dad in Australia and decided that it would be a nice place to raise a family (she also loved the sunny weather).
I grew up in Perth, but most summer school holidays we would come to visit my grandparents and uncles who lived in Tilburg, spending our Christmas and New Years here in the Netherlands.
So it has always felt like a precious and familiar place.
I took the move abroad in mid-2018 for a new adventure and chose Amsterdam as the starting place.
I worked on a few projects and applied for a few artist in residence programs to combine travel and experiencing some new cities (Watou in Belgium, Amsterdam, Lapua in Finland, Taipei, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Jiali in Taiwan).
It’s not until recently that we’ve just re-settled into Amsterdam again and we’ve found a very tiny and cute studio apartment where we spend our days drinking cappuccinos and enjoying the city from the inside.
3/ Where do you find inspiration for your art?
I love beautiful colour combinations (especially including pink), stationery, design, and art supply shops, well-designed spaces, patches of weeds and wildflowers, travelling to new cities, flea markets, food markets, outdoor markets, supermarkets, music videos, flower shops, talking through projects with my partner Bobo, growing plants, meeting other artists doing exciting things, having deep, insightful, and great conversations, love stories, seeing my friends pursue and fulfil their dreams, and so much more!
4/ I especially like your collection inspired by Amsterdam, ‘Home, rain or shine’. Can you tell me a bit more about it?
I worked on the title with a good friend of mine, Jai, who is also a fellow Australian living in Amsterdam.
We were catching up, having coffee, and talking a little bit about the collection and what it means to live in another city. We agreed that feeling like home is wherever you make it – and where you can feel loved and find new friends, and feel comfortable.
I love that Amsterdam is a diverse place where people from all over the world call home.
I wanted to create products and paper goods that could be cherished by locals. But also shared easily and sent through the mail, to loved ones back home, as well.
The collection was created while I was doing a six-month artist in residence program at the Plantage Dokhuis over the Spring & Summer of 2019.
I visited many of my favourite places in Amsterdam (Hortus botanicus, floating flower markets, the doggy park near our residency, the NEMO rooftop, etc.)
I worked on it by using my favourite gouache, scanned the painted pages, and arranged the buildings, people, bikes, trees into little happy compositions that feature across art prints, greeting cards, postcards, and a 2020 calendar.
5/ It looks like flowers are an important part of your art. Do you only find inspiration for them in nature, or in historical art, too?
Yes! Flowers are a big part of my art but also my life.
I wasn’t always in love with flowers, but I fell in love with them after a big break up while I was going through my second year of art school.
I took a short floristry course and became enamoured with flowers as objects and as a material to work with.
So, I started exploring their production, the fresh-flower industry, their cultural significance, and also how we use them to communicate with each other.
I’ve worked on several projects collaboratively with one of my very best friends, writer/producer/artist Gok Lim.
I think it’s really interesting and beautiful finding inspiration from flowers in all of their different forms (growing on the sidewalk, in flower shops, supermarket flowers, in old botanical drawings and books, museum paintings, the fake flowers in my grandma’s house, etc.)
I think it says a lot about us and the way that we preserve and commemorate ephemeral and fragile things, like flowers.
6/ Do you have any exciting projects planned for the future?
I’m currently working on one of the biggest projects of my life. It sounds dramatic, but it’s just a very big thing that’s happening!
I signed the lease for a very cute, very tiny little space in Czaar Peterstraat (Amsterdam Oost). It’s called pansy, and it’s an accumulation of everything important to me.
It combines a small shop, studio, and workshop space. I’ve been able to work on it and make all the creative decisions myself, and it feels really rewarding and exciting. But also scary – all at the same time.
At the moment, plans for opening are postponed until we are safe. But I’m working hard behind the scenes to get the space as beautiful, comfortable and welcoming for when we’ll be able to open.
7/ Where can we find & buy your work?
A few ways! I have my own webshop (here is the link), which has my full collection of work and portfolio.
I also work with a handful of boutique shops that stock my work, so if you aren’t based in the Netherlands, you’ll be able to find my work through my stockists here.
And hopefully, in the near future, you’ll be able to come and visit me in person at pansy! It’s located on Czaar Peterstraat 104, 1018PS.
I’d love to welcome you with a cuppa, come by to say hello.
Photos: Birgit Loit.