We had a strikingly-honest conversation with Ally Lilith, the Malaysia-based surrealist with a proclivity for distortion and penchant for self-deprecation. The young designer and artist talks photo manipulation, mental health and the value of a pretty face over internal substance.
Dash Majesty: For those who aren’t familiar with your work, please could you introduce yourself?
Ally Lilith: Hello, I’m Ally Lilith; a designer, copywriter and surrealist artist based in Malaysia.
DM: Your pieces Proper Portrait(s) of Two Mentalists and Submergence feature distorted faces and obscured features – could you explain your inspiration behind this? It seems to be a recurring theme in your work.
AL: Well, I have an anxiety disorder and, even though it was worse when I was younger, I have always found myself feeling better when nobody can see my face. When I walk in public I usually keep my head down because it makes me highly uncomfortable when people look at me. That is why you’ll see a lot of distorted faces or obscured features in my work.
DM: A lot of your work seems to focus on female faces/torsos. May we ask why this is?
AL: All of my work is based on myself. I dislike the idea of using someone else to express what it is I actually feel.
DM: Are there any other visual artists you draw influence from?
AL: To be honest, no. . The only source of inspiration for me is everything inside my head, and everything that’s going on around me.
DM: Atypical is something of an arresting piece. Could you tell us the story behind this work?
AL: Ah! I created that based on a recent observation of mine. I used to post a lot of photographs of myself (like, a few selfies every once in a while), and I have noticed that people actually appreciate pretty faces over great ideas – based on the number of likes I receive. I’ve noticed the same thing happening with a lot of attractive Instagram users out there – all they have to do is continuously post a selfie every day to get people interested, because people like pretty faces. I want my work to be anything but just pretty.
DM: Would you define yourself as a photographer, or perhaps an artist or a creative?
AL: I would never define myself as a photographer, because that would actually piss off a lot of professional photographers out there. I do however enjoy taking pictures, but what I enjoy most is manipulating photographs. So, I’d call myself an artist instead.
DM: Tell us a little about Handtakotaki.
AL: I am always looking for new juxtaposition ideas. One day I was at work and I got extremely bored. I looked at my fingers and I thought of chopsticks, and when I think of chopsticks, I think of sushi. When I got home I asked my boyfriend “What should the caption for this one be?” and then I said “I know! Handtakotaki”. I laughed, hard. He didn’t.
DM: You also create art in the form of illustration. Which is your preferred medium?
AL: I enjoy photography more. It has always been my main medium since way back when. That and writing.
DM: What advice would you give to up-and-coming artists that you perhaps didn’t receive yourself?
AL: Your work does not need to be understood or even fancied by everyone. Just keep creating and make sure it reflects who you are.
DM: Do you have any upcoming projects you’re excited to share?
Ally Lilth will not be taking any further bookings for children’s parties in 2017. For further inquiries, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org