About the Artist: Allison DeBritz is a multi-media artist and photographer working with themes of family, relationship, and femininity. Her photographs are often inspired by the female archetype and a woman's place in society and the home. Allison has exhibited her work nationally and is a graduate of the BFA photography program at SUNY New Paltz. She currently lives and works in upstate New York.
Where should you be?
Where do I belong?
Not you're place!
Yet we always end up where we are "not supposed to be"
Read below the interview our Art Director, Finn Schult, had with the artist!
What lead you to start photographing and working with the themes of things like relationships, family, and femininity?
Subconsciously I began intertwining themes of relationships, family, and femininity into my work when I was very young. When I first started photographing seriously in high school my younger sister was always my model, so right off the bat my images included a female and a family member. Fast forward to college and I was always photographing women (mostly my friends). I began to develop my own personal brand of feminism and so it felt natural to express my thoughts and feelings through my art in conjunction with showcasing these strong women as the subject matter.
My conscious discovery of family as a subject matter came during project I did in college leading up to my thesis. I got my hands on some old family photographs that I just feel in love with. I started examining them, rephotographing them, and collaging them. Eventually that project morphed into my thesis, We Release, which was about the illness my sister survived and how it impacted our relationship and family.
The conceptual evolution of my work is really interesting to me because I started out photographing my sister as she was in remission and five years later I was back to explore her as a subject again.
How has your work changed thematically and aesthetically between your earliest body of work and the work you're making now?
Well as mentioned much of the work I made in the past was extremely personal. I dissected specific emotions and events that affected my family and I. Now I am trying to take what in the past has been personal and turn it outwards. I am aiming to make work that stems from something I have experienced but making it in a way that is relatable to others. I think that I am much more conscious of my viewer than I once was. Concerning my aesthetic, I actually don't think it has changed that much. It has been refined of course, but I think a lot of what I do today is similar to how I have always worked.
In your opinion what has been the most poignant or important series that you've made and why?
We Release has been the more poignant for a few reasons. One, it was examining and unpacking a huge life changing event. It was really a way for me to reflect and heal from what my family had been through, so it was extremely emotional and it pushed a lot of personal boundaries. Secondly, this series is by far the most developed body of work I have made thus far. I've shot and been in shows here and there since graduating, but there is nothing like the pure unadulterated time that one has in college to make art. I haven't had the luxury of that kind of time until recently. I know this body of work will always be important to me but I soon hope to make something that exceeds what I've done in the past.
Who or what has been most influential to your practice?
Unsurprisingly I would say my family. They have always been a great source of support and inspiration to me. My mom is also an artist, so she really helped breed me to be one too!
I know you're working on something new, is there anything you can share about it with us?
Sure! As mentioned before I am really dedicating a lot more time to my art practice now. After a few years of working unsatisfying jobs I am really getting back into what drives me. Even though the concept is quite different that past projects I am drawing upon the use of appropriation, something I have used a lot in the past. My concept focuses on inspecting a womans expected place in society. I'm really excited about this project because it has been extremely rejuvenating for me so I am looking forward to developing it further.