Arianna Jones is a stylist-turned-artist, with backgrounds in contemporary art and apparel designs. Her nature-based meditative work explores notions of ephemerality, memory, balance and texture.
Arianna considers Austin, Texas, and Lyon, France, her two homes. When she's not working, she spends a lot of time wandering around those places, taking pictures and gathering inspiration. It was a result of such a foray along the Colorado River that Arianna developed a series of artworks we fell in love with! We asked if she would be open to creating a piece for us to print post card prints of to send along with Canyon customers' orders. In conjunction with the release of the prints, we're very excited to share this feature on the artist behind the work!
Do you have a morning ritual? Does it change based on where you’re living?
My morning ritual in Austin is being outside before I’m fully awake and wandering until something makes me smile. Then I give myself about 40 more minutes to just stay in that space.
My morning routine in Lyon so far is to just watch the light. Our apartment has the most beautiful shadows so I’ll get up a bit early and sit and watch them or find different objects whose shadows I can play with and see what they look like. Then it's time for breakfast!
You split time between Austin and Lyon. Were you looking for a new home in France, or did it find you?
I’m not sure, really. I’d sort of saw the writing on the wall in the commercial photo world where I worked and thought I should be figuring out what’s next for me. Then when I came to Lyon on a solo vacation I just sort of imagined myself being here because it’s so gorgeous it’s hard not to. I met my now-husband on that trip and recognized pretty early on that he was an amalgamation of everyone I've ever cared about. So maybe this new home found me, or maybe called me, but I was definitely in a place to receive it.
What has the process been of sinking roots in a new place to make it feel home?
It’s been slow, actually. Partially because I don’t feel like any of this is real yet. And the other part of it is because I'm trying to figure out what "home" is to me. When I had my own space it was easy to say that my favorite spot next to the window, surrounded by things I'd carefully chosen to be in my space, listening to my favorite radio show on a Saturday morning and eating breakfast tacos from my favorite taco joint was "home."
But here, our space itself had been lived in before I got here and in settling in, I'm detaching from the material and the familiar notions of "home". While I'm still searching for what the final version looks like, though, laying on the sofa with my husband on a sunny afternoon feels as close to home as anything I could possibly hope for.
You spent the early part of the pandemic along the Colorado River in Texas, and channeled that time and experience into artwork. Could you tell us about that time and how you channeled it into a creative process?
Yeah, I wasn't planning on being in Texas nearly as long as I was, but I'd also been in a bit of the anxious spot that a lot of folks found themselves in post-covid, trying to figure out what work and life looks like with an enormous life change. So during the confinement, I was at my mom's and everything was just so... much that it would take me until about 4 in the afternoon to relax, which meant I wouldn't really enjoy the time I was granted to just hang out with my mom for weeks on end. The Colorado practically runs through our backyard, so to get in a good brain space, I'd go the second I woke up and stay out there for anywhere between 40 minutes and 3 hours- until my body was free of tension and my mind was free of worry. It was truly therapeutic.
After I'd reach that emotional state, I'd be open to play and discovery- following deer across the river, finding and eating blueberries, weaving little nests from old grass and arranging pretty rocks. I realized that I'd want to keep a souvenir of that time and space- and since it's also the home I grew up in and with the area rapidly changing, the idea of having a tangible reminder of that fleeting tranquility felt sort of urgent. So I started seeing what the rocks looked like on paper. I mean I also took a lot of photos out there, dried and saved some bluebonnets and have an inordinate amount of rock piles, but the ones I was putting on paper just started to sing, the way pieces do when you've removed yourself from the driver's seat, as Dave Chappelle says.
Did you always think you’d be an artist? What was the process of becoming the [talented!] creative professional you are?
Y'know, I don't know that I ever considered not being an artist.
My mom ensured that my sister and I pursued any and everything that was of interest to us. If we asked how electricity worked she'd take us down to a power plant to learn, so when the arts peaked my curiosity at a very young age, she was all on board. So she got me a sewing machine and I started making clothes at about 9. Then when I was in a college prep program for first generation college students that was geared toward more traditional academic paths, I was pretty adamant that it wasn't for me so I ended up complementing that by studying contemporary art at the Jones Center something like two days a week for almost two years when I was still in high school.
From about 16 on I've had a series of mentors who were painters, writers, stylists, designers, performance artists and photographers, so from the age where I really started to think about "the real world" it just seemed like a given that I'd be in a creative field. I found the world of photo styling by chance and I think that was the greatest thing to happen to me because I loved everything about it- it's a scavenger hunt, arts and crafts, fabrication, being on location is basically going on field trips and you work with the most talented people who all become good friends. After finding an industry I adored that corresponded with all my interests and skills, it really solidified the idea that this is just the most natural path for me to be on.
So the process was a lot of just following my calling, but with the support with literal teams of people, and a supportive family along the way.