Under Covers: Lana Anwar channels "experiences of anxiety" to paint T-REX's Volume 1

Under Covers: Lana Anwar channels "experiences of anxiety" to paint T-REX's Volume 1

With our new interview series entitled, Under Covers, Bandwagon aims to shed a bigger spotlight on the talented artists behind some of our favourite cover artwork of today and yesteryear.

For this edition of Under Covers, we'll be talking to burgeoning Singaporean artist Lana Anwar.

A full-time graphic designer by day, and multifaceted craftswoman by night - Lana's diverse skill set ranges from illustration and painting to embroidery and paper folding.

Recently making her first foray into music-related visuals, she's also now known as the wonderful artist behind the album cover for T-REX's stunning debut EP, Volume 1.

Utilizing watercolors to manifest the vastness, intricacy and beauty of T-REX's sonic tapestry - her evocative pastoral painting is just one of the many reasons why you should order the album on vinyl via Bandcamp.

Here, Lana speaks to us about the personal motivations behind her art, her varied musical influences, and her creative process behind T-REX's debut.

Hi Lana! For those unfamiliar with your work, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your art?

Hello! I draw cats, monsters and weird looking girls on my free time, and full time, I’m a graphic designer based in Singapore! I have a serious addiction to journals and sketch books. I studied New Media and took communication design in RMIT.

I’m an analogue kinda gal, ink and paper is usually my constant and I love making so most times you can find me folding paper and making weird zines! Some days, I will push a little into other mediums like embroidery or painting. Most of what I create extends from sentiments of emotions, how I feel and the things that I see or the music that I hear daily or even just illustrations made without a conscious decision.

What drives your passion as an artist and designer?

The artist part of me is more of a mental release, I am very grateful to have a wildly strange imagination as a kid that never stopped. Art is more of a figurative, no rights, no wrongs, free form of expression which is why I love doing what I do. So that freedom to express, is a drive every time I start doodling or drawing. Personally every time I make zines or draw an unknown creature and I see people laugh at it or it brings joy, and that makes me happy. It’s like the ability to bring something personal to someone without speaking.

I see designing as my bread and butter! I love discussing on ideas, so designing has a lot to do with understanding and solving communication via visual, I guess that interest is what drives me to pursue graphic design! The first time I saw what “IDEO” did and how much design has benefited and improved lives, that’s the push that I always put to thought to keep doing design, that its beyond just visuals and aesthetics.

What kind of music are you into? 

Lo-fi, Japanese acid jazz, beats, everything that grooves and a lot of vibes. Now I’m just listening to a lot of Jinsang, Uyama Hiroto, similar to Nujabes. I usually change my flow of music throughout the day from Vanilla to Engelwood to HONNE to TLC. Basically I don’t have a preference, it’s all about the vibe, chill and mindful music.

Prior to working on T-REX’s record, how familiar were you with their music?

With all honesty, I was not very familiar although I know that they’re a talented bunch!  

How did you get to work on their debut EP, Volume 1?

I knew Ahmad Khaliq and Axel Serik from a special someone whom all of us shared amazing memories with and to me, it felt more of a tribute in loving memory of him so of course when he asked if I was interested in collaborating and I didn’t hesitate, I just went “YASSSS”. This collaboration is merely just work but more of a rekindling of connection on a creative platform.

I understand this is your first time doing artwork for music. Could you describe your approach and creative process for this project?

There was no initial process that I wanted to commit to. Most of the work was done in the comfort of my bedroom and it was just a personal time with music and a lot of creative experiments with watercolor painting, mixed media (paper, textures, threads) and trying to create emblematic experiences of anxiety and unknown feelings with different mediums, and that went on till both T-REX and I come to a decision of which painting was the best for their album!

What’s your favourite track on the album?

'Manifest Universe'! Ahhh, just good music to zone out which we all need once in a while. Also sometimes when I listen it makes me feel like someone is going to run after me with a parang which gets me all pumped up to conquer the day.

Lastly, what’s your favourite album artwork of all time?

Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures. A lecturer showed a documentary behind this and ever since, I fell in love!

You can discover more artwork from Lana Anwar here.