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Where are you from originally and where do you live now?

I was born, raised and attended college in Michigan. After spending a few years in Washington, DC for graduate school, I'm now living in Chicago with my husband, dog, and 10-month-old son.

Artist's studio.

What's your artistic background? When did you start making art?

Like most artists, I can trace my interest in art back to early childhood. However, I knew I was hooked once I got to middle school. I had the good fortune of attending a public school that offered a visual arts focus. I studied art and art history for half of each day from 6th through the 12th grade. I figured out very quickly that art gave me a sense of purpose and I never really considered doing anything else with my life.

Tell us about your "Vessels" series.

The Vessel paintings are a direct result of my time spent on residency in Berlin in 2012. I've painted bowls and other types of vessels in still lives throughout the years, but the idea to paint them singularly came from spending countless hours in museums looking at ancient utilitarian objects in glass display cases devoid of context. There is something fascinating to me about the transient appeal of an object and how its function changes over time. I was also inspired by the city's richly layered myriad of aesthetics, especially its mix of historic and modernist architecture and graffiti, which is everywhere. I was compelled to paint in layers and to use spray paint to create my own contemporary relics.

Vessel No. 2 

The lace patterns in this series is an unexpected element. How did that come about?

I was at the fabric store for something completely unrelated and like all artists, I was thinking about art even when I wasn't making it. Anyway, I was walking down the aisle to my intended destination when I spotted a beautiful selection of lace. Spray paint lends itself so well to the implementation of stencils, so I thought I'd give the lace a try. I had been looking for a way to give the Vessels more decoration and I've always had an interest in fabrics, so it worked out perfectly.

Your work explores "the psychology of the domestic interior." What do you think compels us to explore the domestic when other, meatier issues like war and faith loom as much as ever?

Our homes and what we put in them are an extension of ourselves. They reflect who we are and what we care about. Shelter is a basic human need and it's only natural that people want to be surrounded by things they like, and what makes them feel safe and comfortable. I'm interested in how people attach meaning and value to their items, not the frivolity of the items themselves. Larger, more pressing human issues are omnipresent and always will be. So will trends and advances in household goods and decoration. The two will co-exist as long as humans are on the planet.

Allison's website.


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