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10 Questions for Ally Zlatar

when the tigers break free
there is an unrestricted view of salvation

but i fear this feeling of fullness
—from “We Want Your Art but We Will Not Pay,” Volume 64, Issue 4 (Winter 2022)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote:
One of the first pieces I ever worked on was The Starving Artist, that explores our understanding of eating disorders and body image within contemporary art, and features the works of 25+ international artists who each shared their own and very diverse experiences of living in an unwell body.

What writer(s) or works have influenced the way you write now?
Alain de Botton for sure. I love the casual but intimate approach to understanding our daily lives, which I strive to emulate in my work.

What other professions have you worked in?
For 6 years I was a Disney Princess and realized kids were too much of a handful. I followed my passion for contemporary art, moving first into museum curation, then, within the last few years, I transitioned fully into academia.

What did you want to be when you were young?
That changed every week, from a Race Car Driver to Wrestler to Surfer, despite me never trying any of those. But the ones that stuck were a veterinarian or a teacher.

What inspired you to write this piece?
The lack of conversations. My art and voice come from a place of trying to get these conversations heard and create a systemic impact by tackling these neglected subjects.

Do you have any rituals or traditions that you do in order to write?
Completely clean the room, and with everything checked off my to-do list, brew a cup of green tea. That makes the process less chaotic for me and so much more enjoyable.

Who typically gets the first read of your work?
My partner, normally. He is brutally honest, but incredibly supportive, which is exactly what I need in my first reviews.

If you could work in another art form what would it be?
I love painting and drawing, but I wish I had more time and resources to do more photography, an artform that’s able to capture glimpses of our lives in different and profound ways.

What are you working on currently?
Currently, a poetry book on living with chronic illness through metaphorical monsters titled “the monsters are alive” so stay tuned!

What are you reading right now?
E.M Cioran's The Trouble With Being Born. I am only on page 5 at the time of this writing, but these 5 pages are great—ha ha!


ALLY ZLATAR is the founder of The Starving Artist, an artist initiative that helps broaden perspectives on eating disorders and mental illness, as well as provides a scholarship to help people access inpatient treatment for eating disorders. Zlatar won the Princess Diana Legacy Award 2021, Y20 Award Finalist for Diversity and Inclusion (Youth 20 by G20Summit) and also special recognition from The British Citizen Award 2022. She holds a BFA from Queen’s University and an MLitt Curatorial Practice and Contemporary Art from the Glasgow School of Art. Her doctorate of creative arts is with the University of Southern Queensland. Zlatar is a lecturer at the University of Glasgow (Anderson College, GIC), KICLLondon, and the University of Essex (UEIC).


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