Lana Lanetta

Artist’s Statement: “My world  – my art. My art – my world”  

Artist about herself:  

I’ve been living in Chicago for 15 years. It is a beautiful city with magnificent architecture, picturesque canals – the city of lights and winds!

My brother, a part of my family in America, also lives in Chicago. We are originally from Latvia. I was a creative child, had various hobbies and engaged in different kinds of activities like dancing, macrame, chess, soccer … I even became a certified florist.  Also, I attended a circus school, did gymnastics and dancing. I just went for everything that was available.

At the age of 20, while still living in Latvia, I fell in love. Everything was going well, we moved in together, but one day my boyfriend said that he wanted to go to America. So he went. After all the heartache, numerous letters and painful conversations – he asked me to join him as soon as possible. Although the US never attracted me, I started the visa application process nonetheless. While I was in the process of finalizing my paperwork, my boyfriend told me that America changed him, and that he found new love. I was devastated. I finally pulled myself together and since I already had a visa, I decided to visit the US anyway. Just to see Chicago, not my boyfriend. So I went… and stayed.

I do not know whether I should talk about it… But, since I danced as a teenager, I started dancing at a bar. It’s embarrassing, but it was a part of my life for 2 years. I saved up some money, rented an apartment and began to live a relatively normal life. With the money I earned I graduated from the Chicago Independent Filmmaker School with three diplomas. After getting married I finally began to do what I really love – what is now the meaning of my life and my passion.

I love to sew. I do not always know what I’m going to create the next day, but sometimes the idea is born on the spot, from a trip to a fabric store, or by just looking at a garment that has been lying around the house. Then, I find myself dragging everything I bought to my home and the creation process begins …

I love all my outfits. I do have a favorite line that nobody has seen, because I think it’s a masterpiece that can only be shown at the right time! To me, this line is like fireworks! When I look at it – I can’t believe that I created it.

I’m not trying to impose my costumes. However, I don’t want my efforts to go unnoticed. I am finally ready to rent out my designs, create a new image to fit any customer and start to shed light on everything that has been accumulated for years and was created by meticulous daily work. I got this idea from some good professionals, advising against keeping everything I make in the back room. It is just criminal!

For the first time ever I will participate in an exhibition in April. Not just anywhere – in a prestigious NYC gallery in Chelsea. This will be my first public showcase. The timing is perfect, and although, it happened by accident, I’m sure this is my lucky strike. In my life a lot of things happened by chance.

Just by chance, I had the honor to be a part of the Miss Diaspora Beauty Competition contest in 2010. There were three main categories – evening gown, swimsuit and national costume. Since a Latvian folk costume seemed a little too modest and inconspicuous, I have decided to explore. I found out that the first ornament was hung on a Christmas tree 500 years ago in Latvia. Since the competition was held on December 23, the Christmas Eve and right before the New Year, I decided to use this theme for my costume. As a result, I was nominated for a national costume (in the form of a tree with toys) beating 27 other girls from different countries.

It was also a matter of luck that my costumes became the objects of photo shoots. Initially, I worked on my projects by myself. At the very beginning, I really did not know why I was creating these costumes and where it would take me! I just kept sewing, as I do not like to sit around doing nothing – I like to create fantastic things.

And then, one day, I met a guy on the Internet, who turned out to be a photographer from Hollywood. He saw my costumes, and I agreed to call him when I was ready to photograph them. Ultimately, when I had a large pile of costumes, I called him, and he flew in for 10 days, but the project ended up taking 2 months! Then, he introduced me to a make-up artist and she agreed to work with us. We bought everything necessary and created a real photo studio in my house. Everything started to unravel – I met a PR manager, and created a team of six people. I never dreamt about working with professionals – I am very grateful.

I do not plan for the future, I just create and I believe that everything will fall into places. While I’m not making outfits for celebrities and, honestly, I am not sure if I want to make clothes for someone other than myself. I am attached to my creations and get jealous when someone else is wearing them. Time will tell, like myself, it is unpredictable. Besides, I believe in luck!