Allison Hyde’s work makes me feel like I am in a place. I like that. I feel like something happened when I look at her art. Like something may happen again. There is story there. And you all know how much I love story. So take a minute to glance through the pictures and then take a few more minutes to read through the interview. I’m sure they both will spawn many a creative thought.
Petra: Describe your approach to your art. Allison: I try to create art that will touch people’s lives. I work with whatever materials best convey my imagery or concept, so if that means learning how to cast glass… I learn to cast glass! If that means learning how to edit and project video… I will learn to do that too! I work with found objects, cast glass, printmaking, drawing, painting, sound, video and sculpture. I have always had an anthropologic interest in the way humans live our lives, seek connections to one another, and the memories we cherish and attach to objects and places. It is these traces of personal history that I am interested in uncovering and exploring in my artwork, and I always hope it can touch someone in a personal way, or inspire them to see the world in a different light.
Petra: Why do you love art? Allison: Art is invention. It is creating something new that did not exist before, and is a form of pure expression that is so exciting I cannot help but love it. Creating art has always been a passion, an outlet and a skill that felt very natural to me.
Petra: Where are you most inspired? Allison: I am inspired most by places steeped in history. Where cobblestones are worn from years of peoples’ passage across their surface, or where an old pitcher has a scratch and dent that mark a moment in time. I love how these places tell stories.
Petra: What is your artistic good luck charm? Allison: My fiancée Jake.
Petra: What natural gift would you most like to possess that you don’t already? Allison: Hmmm… probably the gift of being able to let things go, objects and otherwise. I tend towards pack-rat-ism, so I constantly struggle with too much stuff, a.k.a. “potential art supplies.” I also wish I could play the guitar.
Petra: What is your motto? Allison: Not sure if I have one, but in terms of art: You are your own best advocate, so believe in your art and work hard at it!
Petra: What advice would you give to a young person who dreams about doing what you do? Allison: 1. Try to befriend artists that you admire and learn from them; a mentor can be one of the greatest assets to a young artist. 2. Remember that artistic failures are points to grow and improve. If you are not challenging yourself and taking risks, then you will never grow as an artist, but you will hit speed bumps along the way, so try to take them in stride! 3. Finally, criticism is meant to help you, not hurt you, so keep your ears open!
Petra: What is your biggest success? Allison: During the opening for one of my shows while in grad school, a visitor came up to me after viewing my piece. She said it reminded her so clearly of her grandmother and the vivid memories she had of her in the bedroom of her old house. She thanked me for the experience, and I was incredibly touched to have made that kind of impact with my artwork.
Petra: What is your biggest regret? Allison: Having regrets. I wish I did not worry so much!
Petra: What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Allison: Losing hope and those I love.
Petra: What is your dream of happiness? Allison: Living in the moment with the ones you love, consuming delicious wine and cheese, being around adorable animals, traveling, and skiing in sparkling champagne powder.
Petra: What is the one physical object you currently desire? Allison: A really good slice of chocolate cake. And to have a pig as a pet.
Petra: What is one emotional thing you currently desire? Allison: Contentment.
Petra: Whose work, other than your own, are you most excited about right now? Allison: I just discovered the work of Karla Stingerstein and Alessandro Cannistra, and am really interested in their experimental yet simple use of materials!
Petra: What are you currently reading? Allison: Cooking books… gearing up for hosting Thanksgiving with the family! I also love books that give my day a little comic relief like an Archy McNally book by Lawrence Sanders. I wish I read more really.
Petra: What are you currently listening to? Allison: My dog snoring at my feet. Other than that, Adele, Fun, Coldplay, and Etta James. I am bad at following the new hot bands… Pandora does that for me.
Petra: Who is your favorite painter/artist? Allison: Personally, my mentor Patrick Haskett. In general, Robert Rauschenberg. Rauschenberg was incredibly prolific and seemed to try just about everything, unafraid to challenge himself and just create.
Petra: Who is your favorite musicians? Allison: Etta James and The Beatles. I love strong female singers and music that feels timeless.
Petra: Who is your favorite writer? Allison: Mark Doty.
Petra: Who is your favorite poet? Allison: Lao Tsu.
Petra: Who are your favorite heroes/heroines in fiction? (t.v., movies, or books) Allison: The dog in the book The Art of Racing in the Rain.
Petra: Who are your favorite heroes/heroines in real life? Allison: My family.
Petra: What do you most value in your friends? Allison: Laughter and longevity.
Petra: What are your greatest strengths? Allison: Finding beauty in the everyday and ordinary.
Petra: To what faults do you feel most indulgent? Allison: Procrastinating… trying to remedy that right now actually!
Petra: What is your favorite virtue? Allison: Humility and compassion… couldn’t pick just one!
Petra: What is your favorite vice? Allison: Naivety… sometimes it is nice to not take everything so seriously and see the world from a simpler perspective.
Petra: What, to your mind, would be the greatest of misfortunes? Allison: To not know the feeling of love.
Petra: What would be the happiest of good fortunes? Allison: To have dogs live as long as sea turtles… no, I don’t know really. To have a life that is inspired, adventurous, fulfilled and healthy, and for other people to have the same!
Petra: What is your favorite color? Allison: Recently, I have been a big fan of greens. Sage, mint, rosemary… great, natural colors.
Petra: What is your favorite hot beverage? Allison: Daily: A vanilla and caramel non-fat latte Seasonally: Spiced apple cider Alcoholic: An Irish coffee from this great place my friend took me to in San Francisco called The Buena Vista. YUM!
Petra: What is your favorite item of clothing? Allison: A great pair of jeans that are so comfortable they are about to spring holes in ten places.
Petra: What is art? Allison: Wow, that is a big question. I am still trying to figure out what my definition of art is. For now, I believe art is something created with the intention of expressing an emotion, thought or feeling. It has the unbelievable ability to communicate visually, audibly or experientially something that did not before exist in the world, and touch peoples’ lives in ways nothing else can. Art is awesome.