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Alumna Spotlight

Deanna FliggName: Deanna Fligg

Program: Fine Arts, Certificate

Grad year: 2006

Employed as: Floral Designer and Self-Employed Artist, Jewelry Designer

Employer website: www.deannafligg.com

What are your primary responsibilities at your job:? As a floral designer, I am responsible for creating bouquets and arrangements. As an artist, there are a lot of organizational attributes to being one. Filling orders and trying to create new ideas weekly is also part of the job.

What is your favourite part of your work? I find working with flowers uplifting. To me, flowers can seem to be very alien-like but stunning at the same time. To have so much colour and detail is beyond amazing - they are definitely nature’s positivity for the world to enjoy. Working as an artist, my favourite parts are the beginning and the end of a piece. I really enjoy preparing another project and laying out the different designs. Finishing a project is letting go of all the frustrations you encountered along the way, plus you get to start a new project.

How do you like to unwind/handle stress? Listening to music or taking a bath or both at the same time. I also find peace in reading but I don’t find a lot of time to do that. Painting when I don’t have a deadline and going for a walk are also ways to calm.

Who is the most famous person you've ever met? The closest I’ve come to meeting a famous person is touching Josh Groban’s hand at his concert here in Vancouver. He left the stage and surprised our aisle and walked down the stairs singing. Naturally we all freaked out and reached over arms just to touch him. I shook his hand and of course screaming followed next.

If you had a time machine and could have lunch with anyone living or dead, who would it be? There are a few famous people I would like to meet like Morgan Freeman (he’s a beekeeper now which is amazing) or Danny Elfman, but if I had to choose only one person, I would choose my grandpa. He passed in the very beginning of 2014. The last few years of his life weren’t really a life at all and he never got to really view my work. He was always supportive with everything I did and I wish he could have seen what I was accomplishing. I can only imagine how big his smile would be if he knew I was showcasing my artwork in New York City.

Where does your inspiration come from? I grew up with a magical backyard to play in. My dad is an architect and gardener, and throughout the years he re-designed the landscape. I spent hours in that backyard with all of its wonderful foliage and creatures. I enjoyed playing with the bugs: I even had a ladybug house and fed them sugar water. They were probably terrified with being captured but I treated them as pets, talked to them and released them in the end. I also pulled up old bricks along the concrete deck just so I could see the worms in the dirt. When I received my first digital camera in 2005, I basically just started photographing insects. I took hundreds and hundreds of photos and most of them were in my parents' backyard. That backyard was the place to be and right there is where I fell in love with bees. I have this photo I took back in 2006 and I named it “In the Beginning”. It was the start of my artwork focusing on our pollinators and creatures alike. I thank my parents for letting me explore because if I didn’t have that backyard, things may have turned out differently.  

Where do you see yourself in one, five or 10 years? In one year, I will still be trying to get my name out into this world and promote my art. In five or 10 years I would like to have a family but also continuing with my work. Right now that is a difficult question to answer just because I take one day at a time these days. You never know what the next day is going to bring.

What are you most proud of? There is a small story to this question. Back in 2011 I was hospitalized for a major gastrointestinal infection, to the point my own doctor thanked my parents for literally carrying me to the ER. I dealt with many tests for the rest of the year and while I was recovering over about six months, I was on my computer a lot. I hadn’t created art since 2006 and came across this Craigslist ad for a call to artists for the Art World Expo. To keep the story short, 2011 helped my art journey. I made the decision that I wanted to be an artist. It took a long time to figure out everything but I just went for it. It may sound cliché but I am so proud of myself for putting myself and my work out there. It took so much courage and strength but I am so glad I took a leap of faith. In 2012, I was so invested in my goal that I created over 12 paintings and if you view them all together you can actually see my style changing. The whole journey makes me proud.

Greatest advice for life? That would be my grandpa telling me to never grow old. Naturally we all grow old and pass on but hearing his voice in my head makes me realize that life is very short and we all need to take every day as a blessing, and do what we really want to do before the time runs out.

Favourite KPU moment? There were two very memorable moments I experienced. One was having two of my photography projects showcased in the third years' graduate show. I was a first-year student and my photography teacher, Kira Wu, wanted my work to be shown. It was a proud moment not only for my growth as an artist student but for my family as well. The other moment was Kira informing me I should become a photography teacher. This was said when my year was completed and I had finished my final thesis. At that moment I knew I was doing something right, I knew I had the courage and the artistic eye to move forward as an artist.

What's the last book you read? I haven’t finished it yet but it is called The Bees by Laline Paull.

What's currently on your iPod? My ipod has over 7,000 songs on it and contains all genres of music. If I had to say what the largest genre on it is, I would say instrumental. I tend to collect movie scores and classical music, I find the most peace in that style of music. Danny Elfman is my all-time favourite composer.