Monday, November 23, 2009

15 Questions about Art :: Sophia Allison

Sophia Allison works in a variety of media including drawing, painting, sculpture and installation. Her work has been in multiple exhibitions within the U.S and abroad as well as in publications such as Make and the cover image for New American Paintings, Western Edition #42.

Currently, Sophia has a solo exhibition titled Home Home, Sweet Again at Underground Gallery through December 12. She lives and works in Los Angeles but still calls western North Carolina home.


What is your earliest art-related memory?

Around age 4, trying to sell my scribble drawings to retirees staying in summer cottages my family was renting. I think I made 15 cents!

Who has had the greatest influence on your work?

Too many folks to name but mostly my Dad when he told me to just do something I love.

What are the main tools of your craft?

My hands and brain; my sewing machine and scissors.

Is a formal education important?

Depends on what the person needs to grow as an artist. My grad school experience turned me inside out; I hated it and loved it, sometimes separately, sometimes simultaneously. Ultimately it was good for me, but a formal education is not for everyone.

What is the biggest misconception about art?

That in order to make art, a person has to have natural born talent; that artists don't have to work at it; that utilizing intelligence and constant decision-making don't factor into it.

That couldn't be further from the truth.

Which is more important in art - concept or execution?

There's always a bit of both that factor into art. One doesn't necessarily outweigh the other.

What theme or aesthetic are you most drawn too?

The handmade, the folky, the funky and the OCD-inspired with a twist of elegance.

What is your favorite piece of art in your home?

A Sarajo Frieden piece - it has great embroidery in it.

If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

Tim Hawkinson, Andy Kaufman or Mick Foley

Which emerging artist do you think more people should know about?

Meeson Pae Yang. Her systems-inspired installations and sculptures are beautiful.

What has been your greatest achievement to date?

Finding a wonderful studio space in L.A.

What has been your biggest roadblock?

Psyching myself out of things I haven't even tried yet. Dealing with my fear of talking to people about my work.

How do you define success?

When I leave the studio feeling that something was actually accomplished after a long work session.

What will be the name of your autobiography?


What is the best piece of (art-related) advice you’ve ever been given?

A painting professor once told me to get to that particular place in the creation of a work where I could enjoy what I was making, while I was making it.

And "Keep working" is another good piece of advice I've received over the years.


15 Questions about Art is an ongoing series in which we ask our collective favorite artists, writers, musicians, sleepy dreamers and object makers from across the creative spectrum to give us a glimpse into how they perceive art through a standard set of questions.

Please check back next week for a fresh perspective.

(All images property of Sophia Allison)

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