Interview by Yan Yan Mao

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Yan Yan Mao: What is the title of your project?

Alene Anello: I guess the title is “Pretty,” but for a while it was “Wanting to look good.” So I am not sure what the title really is.

YY: Tell me about your project.

AA: I realized that a lot of my life is defined by wanting to look good, so I wanted to do a project on that concept…It was my first time doing weird stuff like posing, bagels, not traditional stuff. Like when I drew on the “I Love Nelson.” I never thought that was art before.  I always took pictures from friends’ Facebooks and cropped them and drew on them, but it was only for fun. I thought everyone did that for fun. Each picture in the project is about some aspect of wanting to look good. For “Pants,” it’s about the war between the foods I eat, making me fat and ugly, versus the clothes I wear, trying to make me pretty.

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YY: So the photo of candy for sale is about wanting to eat candy but you know you shouldn’t?

AA: Yes.  Exactly.

YY: Are there more photos in this project? What form does this project end up in?

AA: I put all the pictures together into a magazine, with sixteen pages. More pictures on the same theme.

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YY: Have you ever thought about doing this project in a different medium?

AA: No, that’s so interesting. Like making a sculpture? That would be really cool, especially with the “Pants” photo.

YY: Do you have any influences for this project?

AA: At the beginning of the year, I did a presentation on Hannah Höch, she is a German Dadaist. She made a lot of photo montages.  I really liked that and it inspired me to take photographs that were not straight naturalistic documentary still-lives. Also she had lots of scenes about femininity and beauty.

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There’s another artist that I really like that I just found on the internet, his name is Nazif Topcuoglu. He takes photographs that are really posed, weird scenes, people doing really weird things or of weird sculptures. That also gave me ideas about taking photographs in this way.

YY: Did you have this idea before you started taking photographs?

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AA: Yes, but some of the photographs I took were before the project idea, like the candy one, but they fit in. For others I had the idea, like putting food in my pants, and then I took pictures of it.

YY: So these were fabricated scenes?

AA: Yeah.

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YY: Anything else you want to talk about?

AA: My mom’s a painter and she always encouraged me to do art. But I never did before. She always talked to me about colors and compositions.


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