It is an exciting week ahead at Well + Wonder as we welcome another talented female artist to our roster! Allison James most likely needs no introduction but just in case you are missing out - Allison is a contemporary painter who lives and works out of Atlanta, Georgia. I had the pleasure of meeting Allison last year and she’s a genuine and kind soul with wonderful energy that draws so many in. I’m thrilled to now call her a part of our Well + Wonder community and can’t wait to share her original works with you TOMORROW at 10 a.m.! But until then step inside Allison's studio by reading our latest blog post Pardon Me, Allison James. If you are anything like us you will be incredibly inspired by this talented artist! We could hardly wait to debut all the goodies straight from Allison's studio. Welcome, Allison James, we are so thrilled to have you as part of the Well + Wonder team!
What is currently on your nightstand?
A blue & white lamp, a stack of books, a glass half full of water, and the book I’m currently reading, Stephen King’s ‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft’. It was a gift from a collector in Virginia and so much of his processes can be translated to art. I cherish it.
Who is your biggest influence as an artist and why?
Basquiat, Warhol, Rauschenberg, Jenny Saville, Rothko, any + all graffiti artists, NYFW street style mavens... a lot of L.A. artists who are super raw in their movements and applications in the most beautiful, child-like way. I’ll stop there! So many things inspire me, not just people. I could go on for days.
Tell us about your childhood. What is the most memorable moment as a young person?
Yikes, this is a loaded question. The flowery, pretty answer would be ‘the smell of crayons slowly melting in the sunlight on Saturday mornings with cartoons blaring in the background.’ But I had a bumpy childhood. My parents divorced when I was 5 and I had to really step into adulthood younger than most. I felt split between two worlds for many, many years after the fact and I looked to art to find my happy place. And I still do! I earned my grit during those years of adolescence and I pull from those memories every day when I’m working in the studio. I wouldn’t change the hardships of the world. They’ve made me who I am. I’d have nothing to paint if it were all roses! (Except maybe roses… boring.)
If you could only have one supply in your art studio, what would it be and why?
This is easy: My scraper. It’s just this plastic strip, nothing to write home about. You really can use anything to scrape. And I have six of them in all different lengths and tips. Since I majored in Painting, Printmaking, and Drawing I am so used to pulling the paint and ink across my surfaces. It goes so hand-in-hand with my mixed medium technique. I kind of jumbled everything I learned in school into one and I can’t live without my tools.
What is your favorite room in your house? Describe it.
Hands down the living room. It’s where we congregate most and it’s filled with happy memories and photos from our wedding day. We also have this big, plush, linen couch with a scalloped back and a red + orange oushak rug underneath. We paired a modern, white coffee table styled with lots of books and candles on top to work in the white fireplace and built-ins. On the side of the room, there’s a sleek, cream sideboard with bamboo details, concrete lamps and our record player on top. Plus there are fun little accessories hiding all over the living room, my favorite being a white, lacquer bookend shaped like an alligator I found at a thrift store. We call him Gary the Gator.
What is your biggest score online?
Our dog! Can I say that?? A year ago we were scoping out the GRRA website (Golden retriever rescue of Atlanta) and saw him, immediately fell in love, met him and took him home a week later from his foster parents. Best decisions we’ve ever made. Reggie makes our world go round! (Side note: Every kind of dog has its own rescue site. Adopt, don’t shop!)
What is the benefit of buying art through a collective? What do you recommend for those that are new to buying original art?
I think the biggest benefit is having reputable influences backing up the work and guiding you along the buying process. It can be intimidating! My advice for new collectors would be don’t buy art because you think it’s what your space needs. Buy what speaks to you because you LOVE it, it triggers something, it moves you. Don’t think about the house. As my mother-in-law, Kathy always says,‘buy what you love and you will make it work!’ So true!
If you have the entire day to spend in an art museum, which one and why?
It’s a tie between the Uffizi and Accademia, purely for the Statue of David. I studied any and all Italian art history that I could in college (I technically have a minor) and was lucky enough to study abroad in Tuscany in 2011. I got to see the works by the masters that I’d been studying for years in person via slideshow in a 250+ student-filled auditorium and was quite literally moved to tears (no, really. I sat with David for 20 minutes and couldn’t understand how someone made him with their own two hands!) The masters give me such an appreciation for the process of painting. They devoted their life to documenting moments, real or imaginary. We don’t do that enough today.
What is your favorite hotel and what makes it special?
The Bohemian in Savannah because it’s where Brandon (my husband) and I had our second date after weeks apart while he worked in Chicago and we had to get to know each other over the phone! I knew he was the one while we were sipping cocktails on the rooftop. It was dreamy.
If you were a lipstick color would you be red, pink, or clear and why?
Orangey-red every day. It’s my power color in painting and in life. More specifically, Smashbox’s ‘Thrill Seeker’ which I wear when I’m feeling fearless.
I can never get on a plane without….
My airpods. I don’t want to talk to anyone and I get severe traveler's anxiety. Super fun.
How did you get into the world of art?
I’ve been drawing since I could hold a crayon in my hand. I was in every art program, contest, AP course, etc. my entire life growing up. It’s always been a part of me and I’ve always excelled at it beyond any sport or instrument I tried. I truly think being an artist is my destiny so I never take what I do lightly or forget where I’ve come from. It all matters.
What do you do to relax?
Hear me out. Every morning I walk outside to our backyard with Reggie, cold lemon water, black coffee, and bare feet. I walk around in the grass with him and just set my intention for the day. I remind myself how much I have to be grateful for. I let the earth ground me and take deep breaths.
I mean, I am running my own business... I’m a one-woman show! I don’t really have time to relax and on the flip side, I LOVE to work. So I find getting my mind right first thing in the morning sets me up for success for the day and is quite literally the only time I have to ‘kickback.’
When do you get the biggest surge of inspiration?
Listening to business podcasts! They really get me amped up about my work and help me feel like I can conquer the world. Again, it’s just me and artists can really get inside their heads. I also love looking at interior design for color pairings and pattern mixing. I just see things so differently. If I see two colors together that are odd but magical, I take a mental snapshot and save them in my memory bank for a future painting. That filing cabinet is bursting at the seams!
Prediction for the Color of 2020?
I think it’s going to be chartreuse. It’s a classic color and everyone loves it, even if it’s just small doses.
What is your idea of a date night? Dinner and a movie or dancing all night?
Brandon and I like to order a pizza, I drink champagne, and sometimes we’ll go the movie route. But really, we’re just so focused on talking and laughing that’s just a tiny detail. We just really love spending time together and we are total homebodies. If we do go out, it’s ALWAYS to Cooks & Soldiers. We celebrate everything there and it’s been our favorite restaurant for years.
Tell us about your favorite painting that you have created.
Hands down ‘Birthday Cake’ (which I’m releasing limited edition prints of this fall!) The reason Birthday Cake is so special to me is it symbolizes a massive breakthrough in my work. It’s when I stopped caring and just painted. I worked completely from my subconscious (how I paint today) and edited at the end. I remember Brandon walking into the studio after I asked him what he thought, proclaiming he wasn’t sure who would buy it or where it could ever even go.
It has every color under the sun, spray paint, gritty medium, you name it. And it’s been my most successful piece to date. It just goes to show that when you paint from the heart, people can tell and they relate to the work. So take that, Brandon! And it’s hanging in our kitchen because I could never part with it.
One piece of advice for buying original art?
I think perception is crucial. Buying original art can feel like a large investment up front but it pays off for a lifetime. How cool is that?? A home can be changed in an instant with a beautiful piece of art that moves you. That is truly priceless.