|Alison Lowe Platt, Lost In Her Thoughts, Mixed media, 15 x 20"|
Where did you grow up? Do you feel that your early environment had an influence on your artistic development?
I grew up in New Jersey and creativity was all over my family. My dad sang and created amazing “doodles” all over his work. After he passed away, I saved a bunch of his note books which always remind me of him. My grandparents were pianists, as well as my grandmother was a master needle-pointer and my grandfather a writer. My aunt taught me how to draw at 6 years old. She is amazing with everything paper, collage, calligraphy and origami.
When did you first realize you were an artist (or have the courage to identify yourself as an artist)?
I was always “the artist” among my childhood friends, although I refused to take any art classes until college. I just didn’t want to be told what to create. But I don’t think I considered myself an artist until after college, when I kept painting etc. without the structure of classes, and just realized that it’s how I love to spend my time.
|Alison Lowe Platt, Male From the Back, Charcoal, 18 x 16"|
I usually know what mood I’m in, whether I feel like working in black and white, or with color…that seems to determine whether I’m going to draw or paint. They both influence each other because even with drawing, I think in terms of shape rather than line because I come from a painting background, and I have really never taken anatomy classes. My interest is not in creating perfectly drawn, proportionate bodies. My interest is really in shape and dark/light relationships, and I draw the figure out of that way of thinking, rather than anatomical. I also love the interaction of background/foreground in all my work and the contrast of a linear background against the roundedness of the figure.
|Alison Lowe Platt, Repose, Acrylic on board 11.5 x 13.5"|
I always prefer working in a limited palette. I feel it creates a strong color harmony. For each of these paintings, I only used 5 colors. I love the surprise of mixing new colors I’ve discovered because of the limited palette. It also takes me out of a comfort zone because I have to really think not only about color, but value and hue.
How do you like people to view your work—from across the room, or close up?
I like people to first see it from afar and then move in closer. I love strong shapes and it reads well from afar. Then when you get up close, you see all the subtleties.
How is working with/from photographs different than working with models?
When drawing or painting the figure, I absolutely MUST work from life. It’s extremely important for me to get a sense of the models energy, and sense if and where their body is relaxed or tense. There is simply no way to get this from a photograph. I need the breathing being in front of me.
|Alison Lowe Platt, Inward Thinking, Pastel collage, 22 x 16"|
Yes, in my land/seascapes, I like to work large so you feel a part of the scene, but with the figure, I always like to work small. I feel there is a sense of intimacy and grace that seems to get lost in a larger scale.
Whom do you make art for?
Definitely myself. I love getting lost in the process of creating, and the discoveries that come with it. Even if I don’t like the end result, I have never left a day of painting and thought, "I wish I didn’t do that today." It’s how I see and process the world.
What is it like getting ready for an exhibition - are there any special considerations that you have to deal with?
It’s definitely a process. I create so many different types of work that I just have to pick either one subject, or one medium and go from there. I also have recurring themes in all my work, regardless of the medium, which is really evident once I look through years of artwork! I move from being anxious about it, to gaining excitement. And then there seems to always be a moment, where I feel it all click, and then I see it all come together. I actually love showing my work because I don’t actually talk about it a lot to my friends etc. so it’s fun to show them what I’ve been up to. Also, once the show is hung, I try and take a few minutes to think…”What did I learn from this show?” Each show has taught me something about myself, and that I am capable of creating a cohesive body of work.
What is the most memorable comment someone has made about your work?
At the reception for this show! An older man with a thick European accent came up to me and said, “YOU draw delicious breasts!” It made me laugh so hard.
|Alison Lowe Platt, Torn & Torso, Mixed media, 24 x 18"|
Yes, the surprise for me was actually in realizing that these small drawings and paintings I've done over a 10 year span, actually are complete grouping. All of these works were created while raising my kids, and at a time when I didn’t even have the time to really focus on my artwork. I would attend uninstructed figure drawing groups at night, or loosely instructed painting groups here or there, and really had no idea how “complete” the pieces were, I was just so happy to spend the time creating art, then I would come home and put them away in my flat files. It wasn’t until I realized that I didn’t have enough cohesive new work for a show, that I discovered how these pieces really worked together.
Where do you see your journey as an artist going from here?
I know that I want to continue to be more intuitive and loose. This means, leaving more messes, spills, broken lines etc. I find I am very instinctual and quick in the beginning and love the “unfinished” look but somehow, I can lose that feeling if I work too long. I am learning when to stop. This also means continuing to more towards more abstraction. Now that my kids are teenagers, I have found I’ve got a lot more time for my artwork and it’s been really fun to put more time into it and get lost in it. I’m starting to work bigger, crazier, and messier. I still love the same subjects, whether it’s the figure, land/sea, spiritual epiphanies, so it’s not so much that my subjects will change, as much as the approach and how I want to interpret them.
|Alison Lowe Platt, Seated, Acrylic on board, 14.5 x 12.5"|
Alison will be part of an Artist Panel at TAG this Saturday, May 7, 3pm.
Feel free to leave her any questions here in the comments.