Jelayna Arbour

Featured:  February 8, 2024

  • Who are your influences?
    A lot of my influences tend to lean musical; Mitski, Sufjan Stevens, Ethel Cain, Japanese Breakfast, Caroline Polachek, Joni Mitchell. I’m also a big fan of creative nonfiction; the likes of Joan Didion, Annie Dillard, Carmen Maria Machado, Casey Plett, James Baldwin. A lot of my visual language stems from film; artists like Wim Wenders, Dario Argento, Sophia Coppola, David Lynch, Charlie Kaufmann. Most of all, probably, my friends are some of my greatest influences (Tate, this is for you). 
  • Describe your artistic style.

    Eclectic, nostalgic, flowery, grotesque, atmospheric, coiling, and sometimes meandering. I like to focus on the feeling and seeing the real in unreal ways. Kind of like an “I Spy” book, or that Clueless quote: “A full-on Monet. From far away it’s okay, but up close it’s a big old mess.” I enjoy the mess; that’s where the real juicy stuff lives.
  • In your free time, what do you like to do?

    I’d love to be in the crowd of those who have incredibly rich, embellished inner lives– the kind who craft their own homemade wine or tame wild horses or something– but I’m a bit of an introvert at the end of the day (and all other hours of the day, for that matter). I love annoying my husband with trivia and terrible karaoke. I studied Film and Video Production at SAIT before coming to the University of Lethbridge, so I try to keep my eyes and ears open for any video-editing opportunities. Last summer, a short film that I wrote ended up premiering in Calgary, and another that I edited just ended its international festival run.
  • What advice would you give aspiring artists?

    Take a breath. Leave it and come back to it, but always come back to it. There’s something hiding there that wasn’t there before. Be unapologetic. One of my favourite quotes from Anne Lamotts’ Bird by Bird is; “you own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”