Interview with alison ᐤ jane
CB: Who is alison ᐤ jane
AJ: alison ᐤ jane is a union of two women who met in college and quickly realized a mutual love of travel and textiles. Study in both India and Greece underscored a great pull to multicultural influences and indigenous cultures. Over the years the two women have continued to explore and expand their knowledge of other countries during journeys together across the globe, and incorporate bespoke experiences, ethnic art and folkloric significance into their creative endeavors. While the two have followed different career paths, they have managed to make collaboration a priority throughout their years of friendship.
Together, they combine skill and years of technique development into hand painted textiles, multi-media assemblages and creative writing and photography. One of their most significant partnerships was an artistic collaboration for The Red Cross, shortly after 9/11. Seeking images of hope and faith, the relief agency chose the two women to create artwork as a healing medium in their New York offices.
CB: You are clearly a creative, what makes you choose digital art for the alison ° jane print?
AJ: Multi layered assemblage is a language that expresses varied responses to what inspires us most. Because we initiate each canvas with acrylic, it is forgiving and it allows us to blend and stretch thoughts as the canvas transitions and transforms. It is often the mirror of our own evolution that incorporates cultural or natural accents that leave their marks.
Digital art allows the “combine” process to be experimental with less room for error than reworking paint and assemblage. We see it as technique worth visiting only after initial paintings and layerings have been completed. It is like altering a dress after it has been designed and created.
Both designers were involved with art from an early age. Jane studied abstract as a child under a well known Long Island mentor, Aida Whedon. After this encouragement in the nonfigurative, she was drawn to indigenous art and its accompanying legend while studying her junior year in Madras (today Chennai) Southern India. Following stints in the movie and fashion industry, Jane currently markets her multi-media designs under the label of Shadow Stories. Her work is in private collections and boutiques across the United States. Jane lives in CT with her husband and has two grown children.
Alison became involved in textile design and fashion soon after college and co-founded a design and manufacturing company creating hand-painted silk fashion for high end boutiques and department stores across the country. With production overseas, travel continued to follow her work. After 20 years of success and a focus on fair trade, she moved into the niche of creative writing and photography. Today, she is an influencer and the owner of Green with Renvy, a website with a focus on travel and lifestyle in sustainable shades of green luxury. Alison lives in the Boston area with her husband. Their two grown children live nearby.
As Empty Nesters, both women continue to mentor female entrepreneurs and share their knowledge of small business and new media in an ever changing market.
CB: Describe your design process.
AJ: Most often there is an idea to convey or colors that prevail to carry through the content. As designers of multimedia, the process may be limitless. There are numerous avenues to incorporate images and color. Often we decide on either antique or contemporary papers, at times using the transfer process, found objects or fabric to later blend with paint. Tools may include a toothpick, knife, dental tools, rag, glass, toothbrushes, etc.. limitless as well!
Much further in the process, the top most layers are formed. The piece itself indicates texture whether it be wax, gloss, matte, or possibly folded fabric. We return to the canvas multiple times during the process , always open to changes. It is ongoing, marrying the story to the textures and hues.
Though morning is our favorite time to work, with both lighting and energy high, there is no delegated work time, and always with music. Usually nature inspired sounds of waves, or rain forest, or birds. Occasionally favorite movie sound tracks or classical. Gregorian chants are a favorite of both artists.
Emotional flow is always around the image we want to portray... the memories it invokes or the message we wish to impart .
It is always hard to walk away and say “done”. We always feel maybe one more alteration is needed, but when you can walk by the canvas more than once, and in various lights, satisfied with full composition, that is when you know you may call the piece complete. Having a deadline certainly helps that moment arrive!
CB: Tell us about how you created the Jasmine and Jain Print
AJ: We were inspired on an early morning visit to the flower market in Jaipur, India. Surrounded by a sea of people wearing vibrant and geometric patterns , we stepped over and around bulging bundles of golden marigolds and fragrant rose petals. All of this was a glimpse of both royal and diverse Jaipur. The painted and layered canvas titled Jasmine and Jain came to life. The scarf is an adaption from the full canvas.
It is a reminder of the beauty and light in the frenzied pace of the morning market ritual where flowers are weighed, bought and sold to adorn altars for prayer, for weddings and for funerals. The all encompassing aspects of Indian life are celebrated with intoxicating scents and vibrant shades and hues . The colors chosen for Jasmine & Jain are high energy tones to reflect the rhythm of the market and the general assault of the senses that we call India.
Photoshop is a program used at the very end of the design process for minor altering of the image. Digital allows us to collaborate long distance with ease.
CB: What is some advice you can off to other women and girls who want to find a creative outlet in art?
AJ: To women pursuing the creative arts....remain open to the world around you.. take note; slow down, observe and linger... let yourself integrate with an image, thought, or color that speaks to you. Allow for the marriage of life and art to occur.
Perfection is not the goal. Do not be afraid your ideas will not work, or to make mistakes. You will make them and be a better creative from the exercise. Be forgiving of experimental techniques. Developing your unique voice will take time to come together. Collaborations in life are wonderful. We are stronger as a team and all have something to contribute.
CB: Where can we find you?