We sat down with artist Allison Reimold in anticipation of her print "XOXO" coming to the shop tomorrow to learn about her studio life, what inspires her work and why "XOXO" is such a seminal piece for her.
Where were you born and where do you live now?
I was born, raised and currently reside in beautiful sunny Los Angeles. One of a rare breed of native Angelenos!
What are your earliest artistic memories?
I come from a very artistic family - my dad is a woodworker and my mom is a potter, so my earliest memories are of my sister and I making our own toys out of ceramic and wood. We would create these huge landscapes using spare pieces of wood from my dad's shop, rocks and plants from my mom's garden, and then populate them with ceramic animals that we made ourselves (and maybe some Lego's here and there). I’ve never stopped making stuff ever since.
Has your subject matter always been the same or has it changed over the years?
I've always loved portraiture and drawing from life, so that's been a major theme throughout my work. I like to be inspired by things I see around me during travels and my day to day life. Lately I've been more interested in stream-of-consciousness drawings and abstract shapes, just letting the pencil move rather than let myself get too fixated on subject matter. Also, working digitally allows me to change my mind constantly and push the boundaries of the piece. Regardless of what I'm drawing, however, I have a strict rule of thumb that I always adhere to: “make it 30% weird." It's that little twist of make-believe that strings all my varied subject matter together.
Could you tell us a bit about your piece, "XOXO," that we're releasing as a print this week?
XOXO is a seminal piece for me because it's one of my first all-digital fine art pieces that I've created. I'm trained as a traditional oil painter, and although I use digital media heavily while conceiving my art, sketching and playing with colors, those digital pieces have never been fully realized enough to feel right in a gallery setting. I feel like XOXO is the first piece that really stands alone as a painting, not just a "digital painting." The colors are also indicative of a new direction I'm heading in my work - playing with more vibrant, bold, almost neon colors.
What's a typical day in the studio like for you?
In addition to painting, I also have a full-time job that I totally love, but it means that my schedule can get pretty hectic. A typical day in the studio for me consists of working from around 10am to 7pm at my regular job, which is illustrating movie posters - I am fortunate enough to be able to draw and paint all day to make a living! After what is generally a very long day at work, I head to my home studio and work on personal art from around 8pm til 12 or 1am. Oh, and I'm accompanied throughout the day by Penny, my French bulldog studio assistant. The long hours can be overwhelming, but being able to support myself 100% through making art is absolutely worth it.
What's your least favorite part of creating art? And your most favorite?
My least favorite part of creating art is definitely the middle stages, what a lot of artists refer to as the "ugly stage." This is a real thing! It's the part when what you have in your mind doesn't yet line up with what is coming out on the page or canvas, and it can be hard to stay positive and motivated. I've abandoned many perfectly good pieces of art while in the throws of ugly-stage despair. But of course, that makes my favorite part of creating art even sweeter - when you finally hit that highlight or whatever it is that brings the piece back into focus, and you're like, BAM! That feeling when everything starts to come together, and you're just kind of in awe at how you created something out of nothing - that’s the best part.
What's the most inspiring thing you've ever seen or read?
I can't put my finger on a single most inspiring thing I've seen, it's more like little fragments that get stuck in my head. While making "XOXO," I had the ending scene of Evangelion in the back of my mind, and the colors and mood definitely come through in the piece. The creature design in movies like Akira and John Carpenter's "The Thing" were both big inspirations that led to my drawing series called “Butterface,” which depicts hyper-sexualized female forms with dripping, oozing monster faces. Mostly, I’m inspired by little things I see during my travels, and I take those tiny bits of inspiration back into the studio and try to make something that's 30% weird.
If you're not doing art, what are you up to?
When I'm not doing art, I'm still super busy! I work full-time illustrating movie posters at one of the leading advertising companies in the industry. It's a tough job full of very tight deadlines, but I get to draw and paint all day with a team of great people, and it’s incredibly rewarding to see our projects up on a billboard. Plus, we get to see movies before they come out! When I'm not working I like to travel - I've visited over 25 countries! - or spend time with friends, family, and my beautiful daughter: a French Bulldog named Penny. She is my muse.
And lastly, what can we look forward to from you next?
I'm so excited about everything on the horizon. I'm making a lot more time for painting in the next few months, and I have a handful of shows coming up this summer, including two shows from WowxWow Art and Spoke Art's Miyazaki-themed show which will take place in my hometown of Los Angeles. I'll definitely be doing a lot more digital work, and attempting to incorporate some of those neon colors into my oil painting. The sky is the limit!
"XOXO" will be released tomorrow - Thursday, June 28th, 2018 - at 1PM PST. It is a 12" x 16" edition of 40.