August 28, 2016

Artist Profile Allison Valdivia

Allison Valdivia is the featured artist at Provenance Gallery in September. Please join us on September 10th for the opening reception. You can see more of her work at or by following her on instagram @allisoncvaldivia.

Read on to learn more about her work and influences.

What are some of the influences on your work & artistic practices?
I am definitely influenced by my family life growing up. I was a military brat who was constantly moving from city to city, state to state. I feel as though this sort of lifestyle created a personality that is always looking for growth and change. My mother was always working hard while my father was deployed. My older sister, at 7, would take care of me and my younger siblings. I was very shy among my peers and kept to myself quite a bit. My only outlet would be constantly journal writings, and illustrations of my day to day.

I have found that I am incredibly taken by process, getting completely lost in it. There are so many possibilities with every idea. In some ways, this causes anxiety for me, as I try to find the correct way to follow through with an idea. I am drawn to texture, finding beauty and a sort of metamorphosis where there was once decay and destruction.

What drives you as an artist? What are you passionate about that you’re able to express through your art?
Throughout my life, I’ve always felt the need to create. In my past, I found it difficult to speak directly of personal situations and I found that drawing them out as a visual metaphor was a therapeutic way for me to express my thoughts. Attending military schools as a child, there wasn’t ever any real focus on artistic practice. In college, as I studied Latin American Artists and surrealism, I found myself drawn to artists that exploit their fears and anxieties.

In my current work, I am exploring the heartbreak and disarray that occurs between broken families. I see the constant pattern of absence with the fathers, husbands, and lovers in my family as a generational absence. I uncover old family photographs, and blow the tiniest of them up into a larger size, exploiting the void that has occurred in our lives. The absent father. The absent mother. The motherless child. The childless mother.

Where do you find inspiration?
After a study abroad trip to Peru, it became clear to me that I had been constantly searching for my identity as a Latina artist. Since I was a child, I’ve been fascinated seeing old images of my mother standing with the father that I never knew. I created stories in my head of what their lives were like and continued to collect more photographs with every opportunity I had. Some of the photographs show a trace of an action, having been ripped up, or cut away, or scotch taped. These actions act as a narrative for me, as I play the part of the historian trying to understand what took place chronologically throughout my family history.

Which artists do you admire most and why?
One artist I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know is Sarah Fox. I admire her work ethic, and her honesty. I enjoy her approach to creating her pieces, her collages, paintings and sculptures. Her art is incredibly sincere and personal and that’s something that I strive for in my own work. Louise Bourgeois is someone that I look up to, as she created work as a form of therapy to escape family trauma from her childhood. Her pieces are dark in subject matter, brooding and explicit.