Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles

Dear Diary: Allison Sommers

Allison Sommers’ little world of creepy crawlies has fascinated me since we met at an opening years ago (and I subsequently convinced her to move to New York- at least I like to think I had  hand in it!!). Imagine a world where grotesque can be adorable. This is the world of Allison Sommers’ paintings. Her freaks, monsters and evil cats make the monster under the bed seem kinda cute. Even if they do eat babies. Allison let us into her hedgehogged world on a day of art stuffs in Brooklyn.

6:35 Up and at em. Make coffee, feed the doves. My studio (read: living room) gets wonderful morning light, but I usually blot it out with drapes, as I am a grump and prefer the impression that I live in a cave. Squash a few roaches pushing their luck with the daylight. Discover my record player needs a new belt, so listen to the radio instead.

6:35 Up and at em. Make coffee, feed the doves. My studio (read: living room) gets wonderful morning light, but I usually blot it out with drapes, as I am a grump and prefer the impression that I live in a cave. Squash a few roaches pushing their luck with the daylight. Discover my record player needs a new belt, so listen to the radio instead.

Am knackered, so go with some untaxing automatic drawing.

Am knackered, so go with some untaxing automatic drawing.

8:45 I watch a Viennese Actionist film whilst eating my oatmeal. It is a terrible idea to watch Viennese Actionist films whilst eating oatmeal.

8:45 I watch a Viennese Actionist film whilst eating my oatmeal. It is a terrible idea to watch Viennese Actionist films whilst eating oatmeal.

The rules: I've developed a few commandments that I follow. I use the Pomodoro Method for time management, and have to do a minimum of twelve a day. I keep track of them in the back of my sketchbook, separated by "S" for sketch and "W" for work. I also must daily read one text (theory, criticism, or literature) and consume one non-visual piece of art (film, sound, etc), denoted here as "ubu" (I find a lot of them on Ubuweb). This combination of daily elbow grease, study, and inspiration I've found to be particularly enriching for life and work.

The rules: I’ve developed a few commandments that I follow. I use the Pomodoro Method for time management, and have to do a minimum of twelve a day. I keep track of them in the back of my sketchbook, separated by “S” for sketch and “W” for work. I also must daily read one text (theory, criticism, or literature) and consume one non-visual piece of art (film, sound, etc), denoted here as “ubu” (I find a lot of them on Ubuweb). This combination of daily elbow grease, study, and inspiration I’ve found to be particularly enriching for life and work.

9:30 Currently, I am mad at this painting, as I discovered too late that this piece of illustration board is faulty and drinking up the paint like a sponge. Fighting it. Will resolve itself eventually. The piece is for a show that Mr. Travis Louie is curating for Last Rites.

9:30 Currently, I am mad at this painting, as I discovered too late that this piece of illustration board is faulty and drinking up the paint like a sponge. Fighting it. Will resolve itself eventually. The piece is for a show that Mr. Travis Louie is curating for Last Rites.

10:30 Spend an hour or so copy-editing an article on a German science fiction radio play (Der Bunkermann-Kassette) my husband Gerrit wrote for an academic journal. Two doves walked into the kitchen through an open window, but I wasn't fast enough to get a picture.

10:30 Spend an hour or so copy-editing an article on a German science fiction radio play (Der Bunkermann-Kassette) my husband Gerrit wrote for an academic journal. Two doves walked into the kitchen through an open window, but I wasn’t fast enough to get a picture.

12 The hedgehog got up to get a snack, so I am bothering him.

12 The hedgehog got up to get a snack, so I am bothering him.

 1 Taking a break from 2D work and working on 3D: right now, I'm gluing wainscoting and trim into this house, which is going to be a shack-toolshed. Also pictured are at least three other projects in various states of completion-- a casket, a bathtub full of silkworm pupae for a room I'm making, a tiny dollhouse playset, etc.

1 Taking a break from 2D work and working on 3D: right now, I’m gluing wainscoting and trim into this house, which is going to be a shack-toolshed. Also pictured are at least three other projects in various states of completion– a casket, a bathtub full of silkworm pupae for a room I’m making, a tiny dollhouse playset, etc.

1:40 changing gears again, working on this drawing. Finally feeling like I'm making progress-- the middle stages of rendering always feel somewhat Sisyphean; now I'm getting somewhere. And hey, knight nipples.

1:40 changing gears again, working on this drawing. Finally feeling like I’m making progress– the middle stages of rendering always feel somewhat Sisyphean; now I’m getting somewhere. And hey, knight nipples.

2:30 sketchbook break. Must sketchbook at least an hour everyday. Evidently this knight theme is a thing lately.

2:30 sketchbook break. Must sketchbook at least an hour everyday. Evidently this knight theme is a thing lately.

3:00 Antsy. Gerrit and I decide to play hooky for the rest of the day. We head down to Prospect Park and laze about. I spend at least an hour baking in the sun and poking at the bottom of this lake with a stick. We recognize an acquaintance of ours gamboling through the woods with a bearded banjo player because, you know, Brooklyn.

3:00 Antsy. Gerrit and I decide to play hooky for the rest of the day. We head down to Prospect Park and laze about. I spend at least an hour baking in the sun and poking at the bottom of this lake with a stick. We recognize an acquaintance of ours gamboling through the woods with a bearded banjo player because, you know, Brooklyn.

 7:00-? Meet up with close and beloved art friends (among whom is, funnily enough, Vahge, who is also doing her Art Nerd Day-In-The-Life) to attend a show opening at Gristle Tattoo in Williamsburg, at which I and several of us are featured.

7:00-? Meet up with close and beloved art friends (among whom is, funnily enough, Vahge, who is also doing her Art Nerd Day-In-The-Life) to attend a show opening at Gristle Tattoo in Williamsburg, at which I and several of us are featured.

Photographic evidence shows I spend much of the evening enthusiastically gesticulating at various friends. My piece is alone on a big red wall, and I'm now convinced this must always be the presentation for my work. Knackered again.

Photographic evidence shows I spend much of the evening enthusiastically gesticulating at various friends. My piece is alone on a big red wall, and I’m now convinced this must always be the presentation for my work. Knackered again.

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