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Local Arts Index: Alison Perry

LAI_Alison PerryFor over a century, our region has been home to extraordinary artists. Local Arts Index highlights the work of individuals who continue our community’s rich creative legacy.

Meet painter, photographer and writer Alison Perry.

How Did You Become an Artist?

I come from a family of artists. Both of my parents were visually and musically inclined. It’s in the genetic code of all their offspring. I’ve found that most, if not all artistic types are multi-talented and my siblings and I are no different

LAI_AP_FireworksI began to become aware of my inclinations at around age 7, but we lost our parents early. Being the youngest of five, it greatly impacted my development. I sort of fell through the cracks and had to play catch-up over time. However, their imprint loomed large and I’m grateful for that. With time I’ve learned that art really controls me. My inclinations and direction were intact early on so I’m just following the path I was meant to take… as best I can.

What Kind of Art do you Make?

I turned in the direction of news/editorial photography as a visually and financially sound way to make a living as a young adult and to satisfy some of my reformer, explorer personality.

When my son was born, I taught myself to draw, then gradually earned a degree in painting.

LAI_AP_GreenA few years ago I turned to photography again, but in the direction of landscape. A more recent challenge has been to learn to write for an audience, mostly to get a visual, technical or art historical point across. I’ve published a few pieces to NyackNewsAndViews in the past two years. My website incorporates a blog too, but I keep content there minimal.

What’s Your Muse?

My main inspiration is the American landscape. I’m after a sense of fleeting beauty, a fleeting memory, a narrative through place, redemption through sunlight. Because of that much of my imagery tends to be anthropomorphic, which is about replacing the human form with an animal or object… it helps me form a sense of place and my connection to it.

Having said that… early this past spring I “met” a children’s plastic Tyco chair along a Hudson River wetlands marsh in Haverstraw. I photographed him on site then took him with me when I left. My sister named him “Blue.” He forms one of three series I’m involved with, which sometimes overlap: The Wonder Years: Adventures with a Chair named Blue, Postcards from New York and The New Sublime: Images Along the Hudson River Corridor.

What’s Next?

LAI_AP_Blue Chair DeckWell, those three series aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Once a week I add another Adventure with Blue to the series and eventually hope that will lead to a book for kids and adults alike. Both seem to like him. Blue is about our relationship to nature and I hope people recognize that. We take too much for granted in this American culture. We need to take less and give back more. I would also like to publish a book or two of photos based around my home state of New York for the same reason. I developed an interest in night photography more recently, which adds more possibilities to the mix.

My painting ideas are corresponding with my landscape direction now, so I’m at a point trying to discern if it’s wiser to stay focused on photography exclusively or add painting to my the winter schedule, since winters here are very long. My visual mindset is based in summertime, so I might spend winters painting summer themes. That should help keep me warm!

At some future point, I would love to crisscross the country, living in a small RV or Airstream for a time, photographing the American landscape as art and as cultural critique.  But right now, I’m happy doing exactly what I’m doing.

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Local Arts Index is sponsored by Maria Luisa, 77 South Broadway and ML Gifts & Accessories, 75 South Broadway, Nyack, NY

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