Fern Arisara is one of Melbourne’s most promising emerging artists.
When it comes to women in creative fields, I regularly find myself overwhelmed by their talent, innovation, and artistry. As I move through these types of spaces, when I see other women pushing the boundaries of what it means to be creative, I instantly feel energized and empowered.
After chatting with Melbourne-based Thai artist Fern Arisara, that’s how I felt. Inspired, understood and motivated to pursue my creative practices. Fern is one of Melbourne’s most promising emerging artists. Best known for her photography, Fern also creates beautiful paintings, crochet and rugs and recently started an online retailer, Baan Store.
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The concept store offers a selection of clothing and accessories from local Thai designers and designers. Catching the eye of many in Melbourne’s creative scene, Fern has also been selected to join Converse through its All Stars programme. The initiative spotlights creatives looking to connect globally with like-minded people and offers a chance to participate in digital and physical experiences.
Converse offers a range of resources for their All Stars, such as commissioned work projects, mentorship opportunities, and a safe space to make friends and network. Although Fern and I signed on as members of the Converse All Stars initiative, we had never met before. So talking to her for the first time was a testament to how we as women are often so comforted when we work and collaborate with each other.
And as Fern said, “there needs to be more women not just in the creative worlds, but also in the corporate worlds…and in all types of worlds.” Throughout our hour-long conversation, our conversation ranged from exploring experimental practices to all things Converse All Stars.
Hello Fern, it’s a pleasure to meet you! Tell me a bit about yourself.
Salvation! Yes, it’s a pleasure to meet you too. Well, my name is Fern Arisara and I’ve been doing photography primarily since 2018…or maybe late 2017. That was kind of what I was best known for, until very recently – I’d say since COVID when I started doing rugs, painting and crocheting. I guess now it’s also a lot more about exploring different things and trying to stay more experimental.
That’s great! Is this what you are currently working on? Like direction-wise, something that’s more experimental.
I guess right now – and this might be a bit off topic, but I think a lot of people can relate since COVID – it’s been really hard to make money from creativity and try to make a career out of it. So right now, I’m just trying to work more at being myself and getting back on track to do random stuff again. But I am also working on the production of this series of photo books.
wow. I love the idea of a photo book!
Yeah! There’s something so cool about it being physical, I mean we’re so used to everything being online. Also, I don’t know if you know this, but I completely forgot to mention that I also just launched my store. This is where I sell all the Thai clothes from friends back home. I’m just trying to give them a platform, where they could emerge and show their labels and work on my platform to a more global audience. So that’s actually one of my main goals.
But what I used to say about all this digital stuff is that when I started shooting for the store, I was so excited. But afterwards I was kind of like ‘Ahhhh, I wish it was in physical form’. That’s why I start turning all my photos into prints, which would make them so special.
Sure. Even for me, I remember my mom taking pictures of us when we were kids and then having them all printed. So one of my favorite things to do years later was to pull them out and go through them all, remembering. I would love to see yours when it comes out. So thinking more about your journey with Converse, I’d like to know how you got started as an All Star.
I don’t know what year it was, it could have been 2019. That’s when I discovered the whole All Stars thing. My friend Justin, who’s also a photographer, once told me he had this thing with Converse, and they said I could bring some friends. So that’s how I was introduced and since then we’ve done collaborations and stuff.
When I started it wasn’t so much into the world scene, and now talking and seeing the work of people overseas is really cool. I’m so used to seeing so much in Melbourne, so seeing how everyone expresses themselves so differently abroad is really refreshing.
Yeah, I totally agree. I started with Converse back when they were looking for All Stars and I thought it was so cool to meet so many amazing people. Even people from Melbourne, I was like ‘Wow you’re so cool, how come I’ve never met you before!’
Literally, like us right now! So how do you feel about working alongside Converse?
It’s so much fun! In my opinion, there is no brand (that I know of) that does it like Converse right now. Especially for young creatives. For example, the last event I went to was the Renew Labs workshop where we literally spent the afternoon dyeing shoes…it’s so much fun.
I saw this and I totally agree! I worked with them on a project where I was asked to provide a self portrait and after telling them that I don’t really take pictures of myself, they were so cool to let me draw something instead. They are just very open and pleasant to work with.
This month, Converse celebrates women through its International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month collection, We are stronger together. Inspired by the feminine spirit, Converse has released a selection of footwear and apparel designed by women, for women. The concept is based on wildflowers growing independently and thriving collectively. With this in mind, who are the women who currently inspire you?
In fact, the ones I admire the most in my entire life are my mother and my grandmother. They have always worked so hard and given so much. They can never stop giving. And also, any woman who is a minority in their workforce is always an inspiration to me. They always make me want to do more and give more.
Check out the Converse Women’s History Month capsule made by women, for women here.