Artists are an integral part of society. They design the statues lining Broadway, the subway murals, and graffiti on the side of buildings. Artists provide the light in an otherwise dark period of human history. As the world was forever reshaped from COVID these past 18 months, artists and their artistic processes were also impacted. I had the opportunity to interview Allison Zuckerman, a New York-based artist, to learn how she navigated the COVID landscape and the initial quarantine. Her works are eclectic, vibrant collages with female subjects. When looking at her works, one can’t help but feel energized, their minds roaming across the endless details that pop up. While her pieces are visually stunning, there is a deeper, underlying motive to empower the female subject. Zuckerman’s subjects are female muses previously painted by male artists. She provides an alternative narrative to the female subjects by situating them in an empowering manner. They are cool and confident with their bodies situated in their fantastic landscapes. In order to distance the women from their original submissive identities, Zuckerman fuses painting and digital printing techniques to abstract the female; she puts the women in realities that oppose their original context. To learn more about how Zuckerman’s art, inspiration, and process were impacted by covid, read on!
How has your artistic process been affected by COVID?
During 2020, I wanted to focus on stripping away imagery to reveal the materials within my paintings. This motivation was directly influenced by the pandemic – I found myself asking, “who are we when we do not get dressed, do not leave the house, do not put on makeup? Who are we when we are isolated and left with our own thoughts? Who are we when we are truly vulnerable?” My paintings are maximalist amalgamations of imagery, so the challenge of letting drawing materials, erasures, and paint act as imagery was exciting to me. I felt as if I was undressing my paintings and pushing them to shine with a previously untapped inner confidence.
Have you adopted any new technological practices for marketing your pieces because of COVID?
Instagram has been essential to helping release my work into the world. I found it to be one of the most reliable ways of disseminating art during COVID when circumstances prevented us from convening together and seeing art in person.
In addition to painting, you have had the opportunity to collaborate with brands such as Louis Vuitton for their Vogue spread. What is your favorite collaboration or most special collaboration with the fashion industry?
The collaborations have all been wonderful and uniquely special. I can’t choose one, but I can say that I realized a collaboration is a kind of portrait. I aim to capture the identity of the brand, while presenting it through my artistic voice.
What is your inspiration?
I am inspired by the collision of Art History with our ever-changing current technological world.
Who primarily collects your artwork? Young or older collectors?
It has been so rewarding to see that collectors, whose ages range from their early 20s to mid 90s, have identified with my work.
You recently sold your first piece of art at Phillips Auction and it shattered the pre-auction estimate of $10,000-$15,000 and ended up selling, after fees, for $93,240. How did it feel watching your piece sell live amongst bidders?
The auctions are an interesting component to the career of a contemporary artist. The artist does not financially benefit from the auction sale because the work has been purchased by the collector, who is usually placing the work in the auction.