Alina Birkner
Alina Birkner
Left: “The Power of the Line.” 140×90 cm. Right: “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” 140×90 cm.

Somewhere along the way, “millennial” became a dirty word, or at least a tainted one— shorthand for lethargy, entitlement and fecklessness. All the while, young female artists were getting to work. A Women’s Thing spoke to six millennial artists on coming of age at the turn of the century and their own stock-taking of their careers thus far. First up: painter Alina Birkner.

Interview has been edited for clarity.

Alina Birkner
Photo by Jane Bähren
“I want to remember all those moments and people, so I never have to feel lonely or forget how beautiful life can be.”

Munich-based artist Alina Birkner’s paintings are the stuff of gallery-selfie dreams. She graduated from Academy of Fine Arts Munich and apprenticed under Jean-Marc Bustamante. Her work has also been featured at viennacontemporary art fair (2016 and 2017) and Art Paris Art Fair (2017). Her youth has been both a positive and negative factor of her success, says Birkner, adding, “As has my gender, I will not lie.”

What would most impress a younger you about where you are today?

Alina Birkner: Maybe that I haven’t given up on [my] dreams yet.

Alina Birkner, untitled, red and blue frame
Alina Birkner from the “Untitled Series”
Left: “Untitled (red frame)” 200×150 cm. Right: “Untitled (blue frame)” 170×120 cm.
Alina Birkner, "Untitled Series"
Alina Birkner from the “Untitled Series”

What would you like to remember about where you are now when you’re older?

Alina Birkner: I would like to remember to take nothing and no one for granted. To nourish and nurture what I hold dear. I would like to remember every wonderful moment I have lived and every tear I’ve shed. I don’t want to forget a single encounter that touched my heart. I want to remember all those moments and people, so I never have to feel lonely or forget how beautiful life can be.

Do you think about age at all?

Alina Birkner: I often think about how fragile we are, that we all have to leave someday. I think more about the time [we have] left to do what we came here to do, to fully live, than about age. Age does not tell much about someone, I believe.

Do you have any advice for other young creators?

Alina Birkner: Stop comparing yourself so much. It can do a lot of damage.