Ala Park in her Boulder art studio, creating new works of art from fish bones

A gifted Moldovan artist and designer, Ala Park, immigrated a decade back to the USA where she continued her works and found success in her distinct and unique expression of transformation, a hobby that allowed her to pursue her own path into something greater.

She has a unique and creative talent to offer to the world. FishBone Art collections, seen today in many galleries, got the attention of art lovers in Colorado and beyond. She continues to impress the American art community with a special fish bone work, a symbol of change, reformation and metamorphosis.

Natalia Ghilascu: Dear Ala, more and more often I notice works of art that you have been exhibiting lately at various galleries in Colorado and beyond. How did you discover your talent for art and drawing?

Alla Park: My passion and love for drawing and modeling began in early childhood with the first lines drawn on the sheet and the first greeting cards prepared in kindergarten for parents and grandparents. The real awareness came at the age of 11, with my first participation in a district asphalt drawing contest held in the town Florești, where I took first place and was interviewed in a live transmission by a Radio Moldova reporter. This was actually my first public interview as a young artist.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember exactly what I drew, nor the name of the contest, but I know that the theme was peace, related to the Iron Curtain and the period of political and ideological tensions and confrontations in the Cold War with America.

N.G: Do you consider yourself a born artist or do you consider that this talent develops throughout life?

A.P: This is an interesting and quite delicate question. Although I have studies in the field, I still consider myself more of an innate artist than an educated one. Without diminishing the role of studies in the field of art, my conviction is that any true artist or creator is born with this ability, with an individual vision and perception of things special and deep, which is perfected throughout one’s life.

Seeing things in the world is different from feeling it. Painting a work and living it are different things too, but easily noticed by art admirers. Socrates said, „Every man resembles everyone, resembles some and does not resemble anyone.” In the case of an artist I would reverse this order, because, in my opinion, the special and unique things come from within, namely they make us not resemble anyone.

For what I am now, I owe most of it to my parents. I have certainly taken, overall, the artistic abilities and inclinations from both my parents. Both were creative, perfectionists, with extraordinary ideas and innate drawing skills. My father was a very good and inventive engineer. From him I inherited the sense of inventiveness as well as an analytical, abstract and unpatterned way of thinking. My mother successfully practiced tailoring, a passion shared and learned from her grandfather who was a tailor of the village of Tira. From her I inherited a love for everything that is beautiful, refined and new, as well as an attraction for change and renovation.

„Jellyfish & Manta Rays” fish bone art work was part of the Louisville Art Association 35th Annual National Juried 2020 Fine Art Show & Sale (entirely new mixed media art form created by the artist)

N.G: Do you think that America helped you to realize your projects for clothing design, painting and other artistic activities more than if you would have stayed in Moldova?

A.P: The reason I left Moldova, by far, wasn’t the impossibility to achieve there. I believe I have succeeded a lot, and my works have gained recognition in both national and international competitions.I try never to work via template, or according to rules and standards. Maybe for these reasons, I was requested and appreciated in Moldova, yet also here. My intention is to promote beauty through everything I do and think, because as Dostoevsky said, „Beauty will save the world.”

If I refer to clothing design, I must emphasize that Colorado is not yet considered a state well known for fashion, especially Boulder, where I live. This is confirmed by the fact that Denver is only in its 3rd year of organizing and conducting a „Fashion Week”, but the Denver fashion community is very ambitious and rising to the challenge. 

Notwithstanding this, last year I was fortunate to receive a collaboration offer with the „Alpaca Connection” clothing store, located right in the heart of Boulder. A store considered a downtown staple that has been in operation for more than 30 years. Referring to my fine art, both my encaustic and fish bone works of art have been well received in America and shown in galleries and juried exhibitions across the country.

N.G: What should the public discover in the art you create every day?

A.P: To discover and find oneself. To see the world through the prism of my vision. My art is the mirror of my soul, my thoughts, interests and intentions; my love and attitude towards life, the world and the environment. I always wanted and dreamed of seeing a different world: better, more beautiful, and to contribute to this change with all my heart.
As a child, I consciously embarked on a process of continuous improvement, aware of the fact that any change in this world comes through change in us.

In this sense, I believe that my works in fish bones are a symbol of change, reformation, revaluation; a symbol of the metamorphosis of ideas and forms. Any work made of fish bones gives fish a new life in a different way.

VASE WITH DAFFODILS will appear in the October National 2020 juried exhibition at the Madden Arts Center, Anne Lloyd Gallery in Decatur, IL for Breast Cancer Awareness (COVID permitting)

N.G: Who or what inspires you most often when preparing your field of work?

A.P: I don’t have a traditional answer that lists specific people or things that inspire me. But, I know I am interested in all that is new, unknown and undiscovered. The truth is that I live with a constant need to create and perfect, no matter what and how, when and where, in what environment, or domain. What I feel is an impulse that comes from within, that is influenced or even dictated by certain greater-or-lesser challenges: internal or external, conscious or subconscious.

Most of my work is the result of improvisations and that explains exactly my unpredictable way of being. In addition, I don’t like to repeat myself, which is why I don’t like copying or multiplying my works, whether it’s interior design, clothing or fine arts. I believe that the art mediums I have chosen are already programmed to be unique.

As much as you would like to repeat an image in encaustic art, it will never look the same. Even if you melt the same colors on the surface of the iron, they will never lie the same on the surface to be painted and therefore never look the same. It is much the same with fish bones. Even when they are specific bones from the same type of fish they will not look exactly the same, nor will the curves created from them be the same. In addition, my ambition and intention in fish bone work is to use the bones in their natural forms with minimal adjustments, which makes the creative process more difficult.

„Tunnel” was created using hot beeswax colored pigments added to it, private collection of a Boulder resident.

N.G: You are passionate about creations made of fish bones. How did you come to this style and how appreciated are these works?

A.P: The creations made of fish bones are like a child that I created, nurtured and now I contribute to its continuous improvement or growth. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been attracted to everything new and unusual, to „something else.” As an artist and designer, working in many different domains including encaustic, textile design and more, I felt the challenge for an absolutely new, distinct and unique expression. It all started in 1994 with a brooch I made of the fish bones left over from a dinner with my sisters. That brooch, unexpectedly, impressed my friends and acquaintances, and served as an impulse to go further.

Then I remembered my impressions and the emotional impact in 1984, as a high school student, visiting the Hermitage of St. Petersburg where among the crowd of old masters were exhibited the totally unusual works of art of a Russian artist. They were made using various cottons placed masterfully on black velvet, creating landscape images, portraits, etc. I was very impressed by his imagination, talent and extraordinary way of expressing his own artistic impulses.

It is how I found myself in this new, original and unique form of mixed media: fish bones and velvet, different from any found in existing arts. It arouses more and more curiosity, attracts the attention of different people who find it „impossible and incredible”. The likes of which they have “never seen before” and “surprises with the degree of imagination in each work”. I must admit that imagination in this type of domain plays the key role, for without it, the work would not be possible.

N.G: How did you integrate into the American artist community and what differences did you notice compared to those in Moldova?

A.P: Art has its universal language and those who possess it do not encounter barriers in communication and collaboration. When you have something to say, you make yourself heard. If you have something new or unique to offer the world, you get noticed and in that case the integration is not problematic. But notwithstanding this, I would like to thank the NoBo Art District, Boulder Office of Arts and Culture, Boulder County Arts Alliance, Dairy Arts Center and other local organizations for their guidance and support which helped me get acquainted with all aspects and peculiarities of the local and national artistic sphere in America.

N.G: How did you overcome the transition to American life and style? What struck you most when you moved to the United States?

A.P: When you really want to do something, to leave a deep mark behind you, you do it regardless of place, circumstances and age. I am deeply convinced that we are never too old to set another goal or dream of a new dream; and no matter where we are, our dreams are valid.

„Inheritance Reborn” collection, inspired by Romanian traditional style

Being a person focused on details, I have to say that quite a few things caught my attention here, but the most striking thing which is observed in America right upon arrival, is the gigantism and immensity of this country; its power, sense of protection and freedom of expression. Being the country that concentrated the most illustrious minds, you can easily see the results of the implementation and the origins of these ideas.

In general, I don’t get shocked nor discouraged easily. But, in 2016 when I got my American citizenship, I was in a challenging life-situation and was living with broken wings.  I no longer had that optimism and inspiration to create. Together, with my life partner who was a great support during these trials, we decided to celebrate this event and to learn American history from personal experience. So we embarked on a long journey across 27 states, exploring especially the west, south and east coasts.

Our visit to the Atlantis Shuttle Experience at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida was the most exciting for me on that trip. After watching a video of the history of astronautics, a curtain opened to reveal the breathtaking panorama of Atlantis, the icon of American astronautics. This experience literally moved me to tears. I felt very proud to be a citizen of this country, but also the responsibility and duty towards it. This visit gave me strength and confidence that I would be able to regain my flight and return to normal. Upon returning home, I began to create again and feel the healing power of the creative process. Now I have two homes that I appreciate and value, America and Moldova, just as much.

N.G: Where can we watch the exhibitions you are planning this year?

A.P: Given the unstable situation related to the worldwide pandemic, especially in America, it is difficult to give a concrete schedule, as there may be some changes. As it stands now, here are some planned showings.

Personal exhibitions in the restaurant network: The Delectable Egg in Denver, Colorado (Current and Ongoing)

Jury Exhibition at R Gallery in Boulder, Colorado (September-October, 2020)

Jury Exhibition at the Anne Lloyd Gallery of the Madden Arts Center in Decatur, Illinois (October, 2020)

Personal exhibitions in the art galleries at Columbine Library in Littleton, Colorado (March, 2021) and Arapahoe Libraries in Denver and Centennial, Colorado, the „Amante” restaurant in Boulder, Colorado (June, 2021).

Ala Park, artist, Colorado

N.G: Where do you see yourself in five years and what are your aspirations for your future in America?

A.P: Even if I intend to achieve more professionally, I still believe that the greatest achievement in the life of every person is our family and children. I want to be happy and if that comes from who I am, what I do, where I am and with whom, I will use all these possibilities to satisfy this desire.I am in a position where I want to live for today; to enjoy any moment I live, any place I tread, any being with whom I can share my feelings. To share this love and happiness with those around me, to offer them the best I can, because the rest comes naturally according to merits and less to expectations.

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