We’ve been following the work of Red Hook, Brooklyn-born artist Illustrator Alana Dee Haynes for some time now. Her beautiful illustrations occupy a visual space that borders high fashion and fine art. She begins with a photograph, and through a process of addition and reconstruction, she adorns the composition with mesmerizing pieces of filigree, organic structures, and hypnotic line work. Haynes has been creating photography since age 15, but, at one point she realized that she was only printing photographs as source material for her compulsive illustration work.

Haynes carried a moleskin everywhere, filling each page and every surface available to her with beautiful patterns. Eventually this led to drawing on other artist’s work. Art teachers despised this, gave her “D”s and tried to indoctrinate her into art-world think, so she could communicate more appropriately in their language and become a “serious” artist or photographer. She wasn’t having it.

Haynes was cool enough to answer a few questions about her work and her education. To connect with her head over to her official website at http://www.alanadeehaynes.com/

Diptych by Alana Dee Haynes

Diptych by Alana Dee Haynes

A lot of articles mention that your art school experience was a bit oppressive. Where were you educated?

I attended FIT for photography. I think they really wanted me to be more technical before diving into the weirdness, and that just didn’t work for me.

Can you tell us about some of the negative feedback you received in school?

I got a few F’s with no “real” comments. I think that hurts the worst, when they just tell you its bad and don’t explain why. But a lot of it was just stuff like ‘you’ll never take a professional photograph after school’ or even more overall things insulting my intelligence. I know that learning the basics can help elevate the rest of your creativity, but at that time, I just wanted to get my ideas on paper.

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You coopt other people’s work to create your own. Is there a historical precedent here that you are inspired by, or were you just looking for an outlet?

I sort of just fell into it. I’ve always been a doodler, and when in dark room class, I started doodling on my extra prints and tear sheets. And when I finished school, I felt like I was done with photography, but was addicted to drawing on images. There are definitely eras of art and specific people whos use of repurposed things really inspires me.

Mens Editorial Illustration

Mens Editorial Illustration

What are you currently working on?

I’ve got a few editorial collaborations in the works, and I’ve also been working on my repurposed clothing line. Painting jackets, bags and some furniture. My work is usually really small, so its been fun working with large scale 3d things. And I love seeing people try stuff on or chill in one of my chairs. It feels like my stuff has really come to life.

Fashion Illustration by Alayna

Fashion Illustration by Alana Dee Haynes

What’s it like to muscle through in your own voice, method, whatever, when people are telling you that you’re doing it wrong?

Its hard. Eventually you build a thicker skin and learn to stick to your guns. And then theres the challenge of your voice changing and growing and trying to keep up with it while staying cohesive. There will always be people who don’t understand- but if there weren’t it wouldn’t be interesting. There are times when I hate my own work; but if its really your vision, its impossible to stop. And in my lowest times, I am thankful to have a network of friends and family who really encourage me to keep making art.

Personal photography by Alayna Dee Haynes

Personal photography by Alana Dee Haynes

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Alayna Dee Haynes loves Eyes on Butts.

Alana Dee Haynes loves Eyes on Butts.

Anything else we should know?

Everything has multiple layers. My work is really just me bringing out the layer I see.

“I think a lot of my creations as a young child were artistic omens for the future. I was raised on art; it’s in my blood. I always went to schools that were very art heavy, and my parents would take me to galleries and museums frequently” ~Alayna Dee Haynes, Juxtapose (2014)