Pamela Allen, one of the invited artists for the ONE fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, is well-known throughout the world for her bold and painterly art quilts. What I love about Pamela’s artwork is that she is not afraid of emotion. She can make you laugh and she can make you cry; sometimes while looking at the same artwork. Stop by her website and see what I mean. She is also highly prized as a teacher and has helped many art quilters to “think like an artist.”
Picasso Revisited by Pamela Allen. Collage available February 16 during the ONE Fundraiser.
Pamela has donated five collages to ONE and was kind enough to share her thoughts in a little Q&A:
1. Why are you participating in the ONE fundraiser for the American Cancer Society?
In general, I think this is a worthy cause. But more than that, my own sister has been attacked in the last five years by Lymphoma. She has soldiered on with rather draconian treatment including bone marrow transplant and stem cell treatment. Despite this, she has recently had a recurrence so I am doubly motivated to do anything I can to beat this awful disease.
2. Tell us a little bit about your collages for ONE.
Mine all begin with a bubble jetted fragment from a painting by an artist I admire like Matisse, Picasso, Miro and even a favorite outsider artist. They are very small. [Note: All ONE collages will be mounted to 10×8″] I have built a fabric environment for the image, by completing the implied space or figure with colours and elements that may tell a new story and integrate the fragment into a full composition. I was particularly interested in NOT trying to camouflage the fragment but rather have it blatantly different from the rest yet still part of the whole.
3. What are you working on in the studio now?
I am doing a biggish piece about the new kind of zoos I have seen on television. The animals are captive yet they live in very authentic and large environments with other animals. I have chosen to do the savanna but of course MY animals are turquoise zebra and polka dot Antelope.
4. Where do you find inspiration?
Oh, anywhere really….from my every day life. relationships, things I see on TV, books I’ve read. Among other artists I am inspired by modern Masters such as Picasso, Matisse, Vuillard, Van Gogh, Gaugin. My favorite contemporary artist is David Hockney. And I LOVE a lot of outsider art, not so much for the imagery, but by the way the expression seems to bypass the head and go directly from the heart to the hand.
Wanna Bite? by Pamela Allen. 46×48″ More information here.
5. Do you collect art? If so, how do you know a piece is right for your collection?
Yes and it’s very eclectic as I just buy whatever I like with no regard to what our “style” is in the house.I have a collection of folk/outsider art. We collect the work of contemporary painters, sculptors and printmakers as well. I have a website page that shows what I collect.
6. What advice do you have for artists who are seeking their unique voice or direction in their own artwork?
Now there’s the rub! My main caveat is it takes a long time! But the journey should be a pleasure. I sort of ruined my first years as an independent artist because I was always looking at my work in relation to others….was it as meaningful, important,relevant as what I was seeing? That will kill your soul. Once I simply decided to do what I wanted, depict the subjects that interested me and in a style that may at first have been derivative but slowly evolved into ME I became eager every day to go to work!
7. What would you do with a year free to do what you wanted with no responsibilities or financial concerns?
For much of the time I would travel. I would go to Italy, see the great ruins and Museums. Go to India and sample a whole other culture. Then come back and work every day to translate the experience into art.
8. Any upcoming exhibits, new artwork, books, etc. we should know about?
Well, not upcoming, but recently opened is Quilt Visions which I was delighted to get into FINALLY this year. I have also written a book! The working title is FABRIC AS A FINE ART MEDIUM or maybe THINK LIKE AN ARTIST. Anyway the gist of it explores in depth the principles and elements of making good art and the special qualities of fabric to make that art unique. Lots of exercises and projects to help the student along. I feel almost like a bona fide author as so far I have had three rejections from various publishers! I have not lost hope though!