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Ally Zlatar

First published December 5, 2022


When Ally reached out last month, we were so excited to learn more about this multi award-winning powerhouse; her art and the activism that underpins it. She’s a trailblazer and true force for good, it’s clear.


Ally is the Founder of The Starving Artist; an art initiative that explores the lived-in experiences of mental illness, such as eating disorders and body dysmorphia. Be sure to discover the awesome achievements of Ally, and the starving artist community, here.


In this chat, Ally reminds us not to underestimate the labour that goes into opportunities that never see the light of day (hard relate), as well as sharing where her work has taken her; both geographically, and emotionally. ‘I have been lost for a while’, she says. ‘It took me years to come into myself and find my voice’. Thankfully, she’s now in a place where that voice can be a help to others. Read on for more…


Ally Zlatar

Ally, what’s your creative occupation?

I’m an Artist, the Founder of The Starving Artist and a Lecturer of Arts Research Methodologies. The Starving Artist is an artist initiative that helps broaden perspectives on Eating Disorders and Mental Illness through the artistic voice. I also founded “This Body of Mine” campaign, which explores migrant experiences through creative voices and has helped support individuals and artists from refugee-seeking backgrounds globally.


'I was blind to my illness'

I was blind to my illness, 6×4″ 2022 Acrylic


Where have you been?

I am Yugoslavian but grew up in Canada. I lived in Italy, the Netherlands and now Scotland for the last 4 years. In terms of my career, I have been able to bring my art and voice around the planet. Recently, I was in Copenhagen for the Youth Mental Health Summit, Bahrain for Youth Empowerment and also Brussels for Voices of Culture. Emotionally, I have been lost for a while. It took me years to come into myself and find my voice. I have been able to develop myself and really explore my experiences through visual art and I am so honoured that my voice has been able to help others.


Photo of the panel at Reimagining Youth Mental Health

I am trying to invest my time more carefully. Not just planting seeds everywhere and hoping for some to grow, but fertilising the soil first. ALLY ON HER APPROACH TO WORK NOW

Photo of Ally speaking with the Prince of Wales

Where are you now?

I am in a good spot. I think I am on the verge of a lot of collaborations and projects and I can’t wait until they come into fruition. These days, however, have been mentally challenging and exhausting – not many people realise how much labour goes into investing in projects and opportunities that never happen. I am trying to remain positive and invest my time more carefully. Not just planting seeds everywhere and hoping for some to grow, but fertilising the soil first, so to speak.


'The Males Gaze On'

The Males Gaze On, 6×4″ 2022 Acrylic


Where are you going?

I am trying to go towards self-compassion, as I am someone who doesn’t give myself a break and is very determined to do whatever it takes to make things happen. I think I am also going towards embracing my voice and platform for a diversity of projects I am passionate about.


Finally, what’s occupying your thoughts today?

These days, I am thinking a lot about climate adaptation, and how I can be engaging more in these conversations. Otherwise, my thoughts are pretty much about eating cake and Bachelor in Paradise.


…or watching Bachelor in Paradise whilst eating cake?! Thank you for sharing your journey, Ally. To learn more about Ally and The Starving Artist visit allyz.cargo.site and starvingartist.cargo.site. Follow Ally on Instagram, too.

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