Sylvester Sessions #103
Artist & Model
United States of America
Allison wears Foxy Dress
Where are you from and where do you live now?
The question of where I am from is a difficult one for me. Where I am “from” is not a place on a map, I feel I am from nowhere at all with a house of brick ceasing to matter. I was born in Atlanta, Georgia and moved to Singapore when I was 6. Six years later, my family moved to Texas as the last piece of a puzzle ending my youth. Through years of residences in two countries and three cities, these places are not where I am “from”. I am not “from” a place, I was never fully grown or rooted in the dirt of a city that I have walked through. The grounds where I have lived from childhood to now, remain a part of an idea of origin to that which I cannot connect. There is only the growth of my life roaming and unrelated to a beginning defined so strictly. When I am not traveling, I live in Dallas, Texas with my parents. It is not a place or home to be from, but a place in reach of a suitcase and the hearts of those that truly feel as close to my own start.
What do you do/occupation?
I am a model in the label of official occupation, but I would like to say I am more. I craft and paint, I write, I develop myself creatively in so many ways that take up many days of the year; I find in myself an artist in my own way. I consider my learning and adaptation creatively to be part of what I do, more than an occupation but a life that I “do” every second of the day.
What are you looking forward to for 2020? How do you feel about crossing into a new decade?
The future always scares me, there is no telling of tomorrow and there is an absolute silence of another year. I will be turning 20, which is a frightening fact, but a sign of maturity and growth in myself that should only continue and affect myself with the year and what should come with it. With my fear comes an excitement, new years are new opportunities. Though they are unknown, the capability of life to change with the days holds a power over a person with hope for more in a new slate of 365 days marking a chance for life to change.
Tell us about the process of developing your paintings? How do you get inspired?
I have been through so much artistically, I went to art school for part of high school before leaving with dissatisfaction in what I was being taught; what was”right” and what was “good”, a form of hyperrealism practiced that was not my own. After that and even after high school, I spent a long time attempting to create from my own feelings and experiences which reigns hard as I have abandoned the techniques, references, and ideals I was taught. Though hard to visualize in front of me, my emotions and experiences are what inspire me the most even with a product that is messy rather than “good” as the rough, smudged lines are parts of me. Inspiration comes from my myself now; the world I see, the inner part of me that matter.
Tell us about exploring new places through your work? What is your favourite way to discover a city?
There is nothing more insightful to a foreign place than walking down streets, seeing the houses, the views from the bus, the people going about their day, the environment taking place over it all. I find it a way to learn so much about a country, a city, and the life that resides there, where I reside too, for however long that is.
What do you miss about home when you are travelling?
It is difficult to say, I miss my family yet at the same time technology brings them to me. I am not content with the city I go back to, but in many ways I miss what is my own. My room, my clothes, the window that breaks with the days of sun, my strange collections set up meticulously, the boxes of art supplies that bring me into a tizzy of constant creation. A solitude, a space that is mine.
What are you reading/ watching/ listening to/ that is inspiring you at the moment?
I don’t watch tv and seldom movies. I am, however, an avid reader. I have just finished Carrie Fisher's “Wishful Drinking”, and I am now onto Patti Smith’s second book, “M Train”. Currently, it is memoirs such as these that are inspiring me in life; giving me so much through the experiences and emotions of the writer with a glimpse into the world of someone I admire yet do not know. In terms of music, it varies on a great level; I am a big fan of female musicians, from 90s riot grrrl both original and inspired today, Joni Mitchell and the range of folk synonymous, soft emotional voices such as Phoebe Bridgers, and the rambling of the likes of Courtney Barnett; women with voices unafraid to speak, women breaking the boundaries of misogyny as artists in their own right, creating works that change society in the smallest verses and uplift my own self to voicing the confidence of my own words and notions.
We hear you love nature, what are your favourite things about being outdoors?
The air it brings, it is far from enclosed and comes in freely with each breath. It breezes through branches of trees, it is a stillness that leaves a reflection of the world around. Nature gives life; not just through the creation of plants, animals and ourselves, but allows us to take in the air and regain so much of ourselves as the tall trees do. With dirt caking shoes through the hiking through beauty that gasps, nature uplifts ourselves and senses in every way.
What were your favourite memories from the Sylvester shoot?
The memories themselves only bring joy. Everyone working with the same goals and ideas that brought things to life in an environment between ourselves that was strong as the trees rooted in the park. There is nothing better than working with people who motivate and encourage holding such talents of their own, it allows me to leave a shoot refreshed and excited for a future filled with photographs that capture the mood and moment. I loved feeding the swans, it was a moment of bliss that had me feeling like a child again, a smile as big as the pine trees were tall; but the unforgettable moments of hand feeding a swan were nothing compared to the people who brought me there.
Interview & photography by Chloe Hill.
Check out Allison here.