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The rantings and ramblings of Kimberly Allison

Monday, August 30, 2010

Exactly... what does an artist look like?

I was standing in front of my local thrift store, basking in the warm glow of people admiring my work. I had brought in a few samples for the shop manager to see, so she would know what I did and what supplies I was looking for. Quickly a small crowd had gathered and my work was getting the "oooh and Ahh" treatment. We artists live for this moment. Then the comment came, unexpected, like sitting on a loud woopie cushion at a proper English tea.

"Wow! These are amazing! I had no idea you were so talented. You just don't LOOK like an artist!

Rapidly, I felt the glow leave me and be replaced by a prickle of irritation. I drew upon my 20+ years of customer service training to thank her for her kindness while hiding my annoyance.

As I packed away my work and left the store, I had to ask myself. What, exactly, does an artist really look like?

Is it like my art friend Valerie Bailey? A fiesty senior citizen, she wears her long white hair in a tidy braid. Her long flowing skirts are in a crazy quilt of satin and velvet, topped by a dark hat.

Is it like my art friend Pam Pitts? By far one of the best lampwork artists I have ever met, Pam's tiny frame is accented in baseball caps, blue jeans and hippie-chic tye-dye t-shirts. This suits her fave phrase of "Far out!"

Is it my Art Friend Debi Beard? Pretty and petite, she looks wonderful in soft and romantic vintage clothes. A class act.

Or, is it my favorite Rottengirl Keri Stanton? Her exotic features accentuated in a Gothic "Alice in Wonderland' dress.

My point is: exactly what the hell is an artist supposed to LOOK like?

I made a decision a while back that I no longer owed anyone a specific "look" to suit their views of what I should be. At fourty-freakin'-four I have earned that right. Granted, I never show up at a show in a t-shirt and sloppy shorts (I have seen it folks!) but neither do I feel I need to try to totter across a grassy yard, setting up a 10 by 10 canopy while waring 4 inch heels. My plus-size frame deserves comfort these days. As a former hairstylist, I have smelled enough chemicals to know that there is glory in salt-and-pepper hair and I wear my white streaks proudly. I enjoy wearing something offbeat to give the element of surprise, like showing up at a 4th of July show with an electric blue wig. But, I am just as home in a simple dress with my hair pulled back into a ponytail.

So, I have to ask. Does the dress make the artist? Or does the artist wear the dress?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Leucadia Artwalk!

It's that time of year again!

Time to get a bit sandy and revel in the surf. Then, come absorb the fun and funky vibe of the Leucadia artwalk!

I love doing this show. This year, ALL participants were juried, so you can be assured that everyone is a wonderful, talented artist in their own right. No mass produced imported junk here. Oh no. just the best that San Diego has to offer.

This year, I am again in the parking lot of Le Papagayo. Leucadia Artwalk will be held on August 29, from 10am to 5pm. Come say hello and check out my latest creations!