Allison Hudson was born and raised outside Philadelphia, PA. After earning her B.A. from Vassar in Asian Studies, she studied painting and sculpture at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and ceramic sculpture in the MFA program at the University of Arizona. She went on to pursue creative careers including a ten-year stint as an entrepreneur and a nationally recognized cake designer. In 2020, Allison kick-started her reemergence as a professional artist. Since then, she has taken part in juried group shows, been published in the No Name Collective Magazine (UK) and Shoutout LA, and sold work to a growing group of collectors worldwide. Currently, Allison lives and works in Philadelphia
In your experience, is art a vocation, an innate talent, or a conscious choice?
I believe it’s all of the above – and also a calling. I resisted it for many years, trying to be more practical. But I always felt like the ‘creative’ vocations I pursued simply weren’t enough. They were a compromise. It wasn’t until I came back to art after a very long (and unintentional) hiatus, that I finally realized my authentic path was making art and I needed to fully embrace it.
In your artistic practice you use different materials. What is the criterion that guides you in choosing these materials?
I view all of my work as experimentation. I love playing with different materials to see what they can do and how far I can push them. Impermanence is an important concept in my work and something which certainly plays a role in the materials I choose. Fabric, clay, and wax will lose shape and disintegrate over time, becoming something else entirely. But in the present, they can be manipulated endlessly to create form that is unrecognizable to the raw materials.
How important is tactility in your artistic practice? And what does the manipulation of the elements that make up your works mean to you?
My practice is very process-driven and working with my hands is an integral part of that. Everything gets touched, and it’s quite messy making this work. But that’s when I get lost in it, and things start to happen. I’m typically building, tearing apart, and mending materials back together – this process is both meaningful conceptually and it produces work that is new in form and separate from its material of origin.
How do your sculptures develop: where does the inspiration come from and how does it take shape to become a work of art?
Most of my work starts with listening to music and daydreaming on the couch. Sometimes I’ll make rough sketches, but often I rely on the images that stick in my mind. From there, I start to make the components I feel like I need to create the work. Once those are complete, I play, assemble, disassemble, cut apart, sew together, and generally end up creating something entirely different from the original image in my head. But that’s all part of the process and sometimes it works and often it doesn’t – but it always leads to the next thing.
What is the cornerstone of your artistic research?
My work is very much internally driven, and I’d say the very basic foundation is the search for truth. Within that, I’ve explored the concepts of cycles, regeneration, transformation, and impermanence. My current interest is in sexuality and the female body and psyche in relation to these broader concepts. But truth be told, the ‘meaning’ of the work typically becomes clear to me only after the work is made.
What is metamorphosis for you?
My exploration of metamorphosis is a personal one. As a woman in mid-life, I’m in the midst of transformation – physically, as my body changes and becomes something new – and spiritually, as I shed layers to become more authentic and truer to myself. I think the process of aging is freeing, and the increasingly translucent quality of my work is reflective of that. I see my new barely-there pieces as the ‘skins’ that are shed during transformation.
What is the relationship that is established between you and the observer through the work of art?
I hope to connect with the viewer in some way. Although I know what the work means to me, I have no preconceived notions about how someone will react to it. I’m often surprised, in fact, when the viewer feels the same way about a work as I do. I think, wow, it’s as if they’ve gotten a glimpse into the innerworkings of my brain. If the work has an impact, if it makes the observer feel something, then I view that as a successful piece.
Who are the artists who have most influenced your art?
Eva Hesse, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Hannah Wilke, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Phyllida Barlow, and so many more.
What are your (art) plans for the near future?
After 27 years in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve just moved across the country and finally settled in Philadelphia. So, for the immediate future, I need to set up my studio and get back to work! I’m also looking forward to getting to know the Philly arts community and to making lots of new work – pushing boundaries, experimenting, and making larger pieces including installation