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Meet Trailblazer Allison Shockley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Allison Shockley.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Allison. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I guess you can say I was a late bloomer. I became interested in art after I graduated from college, but my art skills weren’t very good. I enrolled in drawing classes at the Atlanta College of Art Community Education program. While there, I gained enough skills to create a mediocre portfolio and was accepted into the Atlanta College of Art BFA program. Although my background was primarily in science and liberal arts, going to art school was like a home-coming for me. I really came into myself during those four years and I have been making art ever since. A year after graduating from art school, I started showing my work in galleries and was fully invested in the Atlanta art scene. I worked many different jobs throughout the years to support my art habit, from waiting tables to working in sleep labs. Many years later I went back to school to get my MFA so that I might have a chance to teach. Currently, I am an Assistant Professor of Art at Georgia State University Perimeter College.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I don’t think I know anyone in the arts who would describe their journey as a smooth road!

It is always a struggle to find the money, the time, and the space to create artwork. When you have a burning desire, you find a way to make things work, because you just have to. I have made entire corporate art commissions in my driveway. When I had no studio and I lived in a basement apartment in New York, I changed my art to fit my workspace. I have dragged lumber from a Home Depot in Queens, through the subway and back to an apartment in Brooklyn. I lived in a garage in Kirkwood with no heat or air conditioning so that I would have someplace to cut and weld steel. The advice that I would give to women just starting out is to use your creativity not only to create artwork but to figure out how to have the time and space to work. Keep showing up! Attend every show you can to create a community with other artists. Apply to every show you can. Use your artist community to create your own exhibitions! Don’t be afraid to take risks.

What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?
When I first started out, I was working primarily with steel, making oxidized steel wall pieces and welded steel and encaustic sculpture. I have worked with many mediums throughout the years and I find I am drawn to working with fluid media that has a high degree of unpredictability and lends itself to organic results. Right now, I am painting with ink wash on paper. This body of work which I call Impalpable seeks to evoke the experience of the intangible, sensual worlds that we all have within us by capturing the essence of feeling through intuitive and expressive painting techniques. I am basically exploring the idea of painting these internal experiences, making the invisible visible.

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well-positioned for?
Now is our time. No opportunities should be passed over or unapplied for. If we want it bad enough, we can achieve it!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Suellen Parker

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