Today we’d like to introduce you to Allison Matlock.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I started noticing art as a young child, around two years old, and it was one of the first ways I learned to express myself. I would watch cartoons, not for the plot, but for the characters and painted backgrounds. I knew that someone just like me illustrated those, and that is what I connected with. I loved picture books and TV without many words. At five years old, I would write and illustrate books to share with my kindergarten class, presenting my work to my peers just like the teacher did when reading to us. I was the student in high-school that doodled all over notebooks instead of learning and taking actual notes. I never quite made it to “art school.”
Today, art consumes my entire being, often-times guiding me through some of the toughest experiences in life. I am in total love with the processes, the colors, the compositions… but also the exertion of negative energy, the manifestation of deep thought, and the therapeutic relief that comes with finishing a work of art. Some of my most vulnerable and emotional thoughts are displayed and hung in people’s homes.
Please tell us about your art.
You would think that, as a highly sensitive and emotional person, my art would be driven by the chaos of my own thoughts and feelings. While this is somewhat true, my work is created sporadically and seemingly without reason. I create using various types of mediums, that displays intricate patterns of nature, distorted figures, landscapes, and abstract shapes. Typically after I finish a piece, I reflect on it for days and only then am I able to assign meaning behind it. It’s almost as if I blindly open myself up at the moment, let it out onto a paper or canvas, and am left with a puzzle to decipher.
People should admire my art gently and with nobility. It is strange and striking, paintings of snails and bugs, but they contain something greater than “beauty” and a price tag.
Nature’s processes guide the visual aspect of my paintings, drawings, and sculptures. As a child, nature’s patterns were the only “truths” that I knew, so that is what I studied. I compare mechanisms, like vehicles and computers, to art making. A car cannot run if it defies the laws of nature, and it only makes sense to me that art “runs” the same way.
Given everything that is going on in the world today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national or international events and issues affect your art?
Money and social status have always been something that has diluted the art world, or “purpose” of art-making. Anyone who participates in art-making can get lost in its purpose, questioning the value of the work. When does creating stop being fun, and start being work? When does a hobby become a hustle? Although there are many distractions taking away from art, the art will always persist and prevail as the core of any manifestation. An artist’s role will always be the same, anywhere in the world, no matter what social class you reside in. Teachers, engineers, presidential leaders; they all have art flowing inside of them, helping them exhibit their goals. As long as someone has a will, art will always find a way.
People who “follow” us, whether it be on social media, or real-life friend groups, are intertwined in our lives and are always waiting for the communal fruit to be shared. This creates a sense of community. When people are working together, sharing ideas within, it makes us feel safe and intentional. Whatever our “art,” purpose or place may be, it is essential that we work together and use it as a tool to overcome the chaos happening all around the world. Our binary code sees chaos, which immediately brings the need for peace. Our art guides us to salvation.
I’m constantly being weighed down by the catastrophic circumstances in the world. The only thing I have found to lighten the load is to continue building my art and inspirations, consistently being present in my community, and establishing meaningful and long-lasting relationships and experiences. This way of life not only makes me stronger as a person, but it helps me find a true purpose in art-making.
Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?
Whether you measure success by making sales, completing projects, or just for the fun of it: never take yourself too seriously. Learn to use the right side of your brain, and switch the left, “working” portion off completely. Give yourself time to play and explore your craft. I measure my success by how much growth I allow myself in a given amount of time. As long as you’re growing and learning, the success will always follow.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I’m very active in the art community in my area (East Texas) and try to attend every event that I can. Following my Instagram is typically how you can find where I’m going to be. I usually don’t post my work online, only snippets of paintings, drawings, and processes. With a few exceptions, photographing, making prints or making replicas of my paintings in any way, takes away from the magic. You can’t possibly appreciate a 5’x5’ painting on canvas in its entirety by looking at a 2”x2” image on Instagram.
I produce events that celebrate local artists’ work (along with my own), and sharing replicated images defeats the purpose of attending an art show. In order to thoroughly support someone’s art, attend their events, appreciate the work in person, and submerge yourself in it. For someone to acknowledge, my work face-to-face is more valuable than making a sale.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: coolgrrlart
Cody Travis Maher, Sarah Miller, Wesley Jones, “Mad” Sophia