Tussie Mussies is a unique art project by Alina commissioned by the City of Perth for Transart Experimental 2015. It explores the culture of gift-giving, the meaning of flowers, interwoven with the art of conversation. A beautiful contrast to our current society’s ethos of taking, winning and achieving, passers-by are drawn in by curiosity and the promise of a free little Tussie Mussie of flowers just for them.
What inspired the name Tussie Mussies and what does it mean?
The term “tussie mussie” is a quaint, endearing term that was used in the early 1400s for a small, round bouquet of herbs and flowers with symbolic meanings. My performative art project, Tussie Mussies, is a celebration of flowers, gifts and meaning-making.
My mobile flower-cart carries different flowers with meanings that refer to positive traits of human beings. I visit various locations around the Perth CBD where I create personalised bouquets for passers-by, talking to them about the many layered meanings and identities of the flowers they choose. Through these conversations I hope to find out stories about female identity and strength, using them to add and alter the meanings of the flowers. I just love how the artwork continuously evolves with each exchange, growing in complexity of meaning.
What drives and inspires you? If you could do just one thing all day long what would it be?
I love pretty, soft, sweet, handmade things. I am inspired by all the lovely, generous and hard-working people around me and other great artists in the world doing amazing things. I don’t want to be a lazy person either, so that drives me to make work too.
I would love to say if I could do anything all day long it would be cuddle in bed with a cute boy, eat sorbet and pick flowers! But more realistically I would love to spend a whole day uninterrupted in my studio making things with a grooving playlist. I wish I could do that everyday!
If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be?
I love so many artists it would be so hard to choose just one! I would love to paint a giant mural with Lily Van Der Stokker, create an immersive work with Rebecca Louise Law, install an ephemeral floral, glittery, sugary magic world with Pip and Pop, perform with Miranda July, dream of love projects with Aleksandra Mir, and draw with Tracey Emin! (and so so many more – I hope they would love to work with me too!)
You’re a multiple hat-wearer and can be found in so many places around the Perth arts scene. Tell us more about all the different roles you have!
I have so much love in my heart for the Perth arts scene – there’s always so much going on! I work part-time at Beau Est Mien Prints and Design, a gorgeous printmaking studio and shop on William St in Northbridge. I manage most aspects of the business and also teach some pretty rad workshops on the weekend! I work with the best team of people including my best friends and a tiny sausage dog named Lulu. I couldn’t wish for a better job!
I also manage The Common Room at Paper Mountain, an artist-run initiative comprised of a gallery, studios and a creative co-working space. The Common Room is a bright and airy shared space of collaborative creativity with plenty of sunlight, pot plants and lovely people. Everyone who works at Paper Mountain is a volunteer, and we devote our time and energy to running it just because we love it!
I also work as an artist assistant for Pip and Pop (aka Tanya Schultz) creating magical, glittery, dreamy sugar installations all over the world. Most recently, we were at Splendour in the Grass in Byron Bay in July, and last year in Taipei for Very Fun Park, and at the end of this month we’ll be at Cut Out Fest in Mexico! Tanya is the most generous and gorgeous human being to work with and most of our install time is spent chatting about boys and love stories.
Besides those things, I do my best to maintain my art practice and create new and exciting projects whenever I can!
Come see more of Alina’s fascinating and engaging work at her upcoming exhibition, Anthologia, in collaboration with poet, Steven Finch.
Anthologia opens at Paper Mountain on Friday 9th October from 6pm. Be prepared for an evening that explores the combination of the spoken word with both visual and tactile art to create something truly and excessively beautiful.
Alina Tang / Be sure to follow @giantpansy on IG to find out where the next Tussie Mussies is going to pop up!