alison brown arthome.html

artist statement

I can't draw.

Not even a simple 3-D cube. In fact, when I failed that first college perspective class assignment, my professor asked if I'd “ever had an eye exam.” It wasn't my eyes; it was simply my inexact brain. That just meant I had to try harder than my classmates to find alternatives for recreating the vignettes carefully set out for us each day - to make mine as beautiful as I thought theirs were. The people who could draw.

I got closer when I studied photography, which certainly provided the opportunity for the perfect renderings I thought I wanted (rather than imperfect, which I ultimately preferred). But the medium didn’t have the inherent texture, touchability, and three-dimensionality that I craved, so I cut the photos up into mixed-media collages, once wallpapering an entire gallery wall! In the process, I learned to save scraps most would throw away, finding potential and beauty in every little cast-off.

Many years of raising children provided the materials to start making things again, because once school started, they brought something home daily – math problems, essays, and piles of big, wrinkled paint box art. Endless guilt if thrown away, resulting in endless possibilities! I would eventually incorporate these and other normally recycled or “deleted” elements like emails, text messages and newspapers into large, mixed-media pieces.

My workspace at home is a testament to second chances: crumpled essays, math homework, hastily-sent emails, doodles…careers. They all deserve another look.



UC Santa Barbara


of Washington

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