Eight With Artly: Allison Clements

Eight questions with painter Allison Clements. 
"My work is driven by the conversation between colors and the rhythm colors create on the canvas." - Allison Clements
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Allison Clements studio image.

1. "Who are the artists that have been the greatest influence on you and your work?" 

I have always been drawn to artwork that uses bold color. Artists like Frank Stella, Wassily
Kandinsky, Mark Rothko, and Hans Hoffman were big influences in my work from early on. I am
fascinated by their use of color and the dialogue created between those color choices. My own
work is driven by the conversation between colors and the rhythm colors create on the canvas.

2. "What is your most significant body of work?"

The Perception series stands as my most significant body of work. These three large scale paintings reignited my passion for painting. As a mother of three, I chose to put my art on hold in order to raise my children. As my children have grown into their teenage years, I have entered a stage where I have more time to dedicate to my art and have experienced how much my soul missed creating art. These paintings represent a new chapter in my life and my reemergence as an artist. The feedback I have received from this series has served as a powerful motivator, inspiring me to spend more time in the studio.

3. "What is your process as you conceptualize and prepare for a new painting?" 

I prepare for a painting with several pencil drawings in my sketchbook. I sketch from flowers in my garden or photos I have taken from my travels. Next, I digitally manipulate the pictures, zooming in and out and cropping to come up with interesting compositions. Once I have decided on my composition, I begin painting the background. The background develops organically and consists of layers of paint, and sometimes sanding between each layer to create a smooth surface. I then hand draw my flowers onto the canvas and begin laying down color. I start with a vison of the color palette, but the palette invariably evolves as each layer speaks to me while I intuitively put them on the canvas.

4. "How have you evolved as an artist since graduate school?" 

Over the years of teaching and making art, I have learned to enjoy the journey and not focus so much on the destination. I have learned to tune out the noise that used to influence me and just be my authentic self. My best work comes when I am true to myself and not concerned about the outcome. As I continue to evolve and learn, I am going to enjoy every step of the way.

5. "Is there a physical place from where your best work emerges? Whether it is the concept for a new series or the painting itself?" 

I am fortunate to have a studio at home in Ohio where I do all my paintings. Working from home allows me to come and go as my work time is often dictated by my children's schedules. I prefer to work in silence, but when I need to block out distractions, I listen to loud music. My best ideas often come to me during or after exercising. Whether it's a long run, an intense workout, or a yoga session, these activities help me clear my mind and focus on my work.

6. "What medium or tool can you not live without?”

I do love a good, angled brush. This tool allows me to cut into small areas to achieve crisp and clean lines. I am often asked if I use tape for my edges, I do not. All my edges are hand painted and I continually obsess over them.

Allison Clements studio image

7. "Tell us about your upcoming series. What was the influence and inspiration?"

My new body of work “Magnolia Music” explores the juxtaposition of pink magnolias on a grid background. The idea of using a grid pattern in my paintings comes from my sketchbook where I use grids to fill the negative space in my drawings. The contrast between the painterly, imperfect grid lines and the bold graphic magnolias creates an interesting illusion of space and rhythm across the canvas. 

8."What piece of advice would you give to emerging artists or those considering a career as an artist?" 

First and foremost, believe in yourself and make art for you. The more authentic and open you can be with your work the more it will resonate with others. Life is a lot like painting, there is no such thing as perfect, you just keep working and refining. It is a constant work in progress. You must remember that art is subjective, not everyone is going to like your work and that is OK. Just keep
creating and putting yourself out there, and enjoy the journey!

(All images courtesy of the artist.)

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