Friday, October 9, 2009

Atomic Holiday Bazaar Interview with Alison Ware

Alison Ware has shown her pieces at Atomic before. The first time I saw her paintings they grabbed me. Not only because they were painted on cardboard, which
for me causes my body and mind to react in a sort of bittersweet way. Cardboard makes me think of skid row in Los Angeles, moving and packing a billion times, being poor, I digress. Digression will occur a lot with these posts...and may I add, my digressions and thoughts may not relate to the artist I am writing about...their points of view compared to mine may and probably are coming from another planet.
Now let's move on from my fixation on Alison's use of cardboard to the content of what she paints. Again, these images strike a chord in me, reminding me of feelings of being in high school (a place I hated) and feeling like if she had sat next to me in art class I would have passed her note with a heart in it and maybe a joint.
Interview with Alison can be read right here, right now:

Name of Business/Website Address? Alison Ware /

What City/State do you reside in? At the moment, Sarasota, FL, but I'll be moving to Washington, D.C. in early 2010.

Is this your first time attending Atomic or have you done the show before? I have attended once before, the second AHB in December 2007. I had a blast then, and am planning on a repeat of the fun this year!

What do make and plan on bringing to Atomic? I make acrylic paintings of cute and odd critters on cardboard. I also plan to bring a few little pen and ink sketches, the kind that form the first drafts of my creature paintings.

Is making stuff your full time occupation or do you have a day job?
At the moment, I have a day job working in a local shop (Elysian Fields), which allows me to paint and create without the worries of economic performance anxiety.
If you have worked Atomic in prior years, what is one of your favorite memories from AHB? Besides seeing all the amazing stuff that other folks are making with their own hands, I loved talking to the people who came by my booth and seeing the connections they felt with my work. I was deeply touched by their reactions to my little critters!

Why are you passionate about "D-I-Y" and what does it mean to you? I love the idea of being able to pick up some odds and ends and just going to town doing what you like. When I was little, I thought that there was a very specific way of doing art, that you had to paint like the Old Masters or have access to companies and factories to make toys and jewelry or buy heaps of expensive art supplies. It was exhilarating to find a group of people doing it for themselves in the way that worked for them, not according to a single template.

What's your favorite color? Purple!

Do you recycle and incorporate found or used items in your creations? Yes! I paint on repurposed cardboard. I'm still working my way through the giant cardboard box my husband's and my TV came in 3 years ago. As word of my work has gotten out, my lovely co-workers now know to save nice cardboard from the trash for me to use.

What inspires you? Japanese pop culture, Disney cartoons, Pee-Wee's Playhouse, the cracks in the ceiling, my mom's elderly Brussels Griffon terrier Aja.

What are your favorite bands? Sigur Ros, The Knife, Kate Bush, The Postal Service, MC Frontalot, Portishead.

What is your favorite movie? Beetlejuice

Are you self taught, did a family member teach you or did you take classes? I took a few art classes during my school years, enough to learn some basic theory and skills, but I'm mostly self-taught. My most valuable art education came from the book Mark Kistler's Draw Squad, suggested reading for all kids.

Do you ever get burnt out on creating things, hit a dry spot like writer's block?
I hit occasional dry spots. Nothing too serious, but there have been stretches of a few weeks at a time where I either can't think of anything to paint or I just can't bring myself to.

Is there anyone famous who you think is too cool for school and you'd like to give them one of your pieces? If I was able to give a painting to Paul Rubens and have him use it as background decoration for his new Pee-Wee's Playhouse stage show I would be absolutely over the moon.

Any oddities about you that the reader may find amusing, an extra toe, can't stand anyone near your armpits, etc.? In my free time I do makeup for low-budget horror and monster movies.

Where have you traveled or visited that made you feel a bit happier about Planet Earth? I lived in Japan for a couple of years and saw some of the most beautiful scenery while I was there: mountains covered in snow or clouds or autumn colors, the arrival of flowers in Spring, the shocking pink of blooming cherry trees. That made me pretty darn happy!
Alison Ware will be working the Atomic crowd, Sunday, 12/13/09, Noon - 6PM.

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