Studio Series: Jen Allanson

Second in a new series, we are granted an exclusive and rare insight into the work spaces of some of the region’s most celebrated and emerging talents. This week we visit photographer and printmaker Jen Allanson, part of the Hub artists collective at Elevator Studios…

Please describe your space. It’s in the Elevator building on Upper Parliament Street. I’m on a floor shared with 22 other people – the Hub artists. My space is probably 3m x 4m. The joy of having the space is that I can leave everything out here. I can go away for a few days and come back with fresh eyes. In terms of what’s in the space – it’s the contents of my head, made manifest.

What work do you do here? Mainly printmaking and assemblage. I’m currently deconstructing Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk – cutting up the text and re-appropriating it into prints, drawing and assemblages. Making things is important to me. I make images of things that touch me emotionally or of things I want to understand better. Everything I make is like a little memory.

How many hours a week do you spend here? It varies. If I’m working away, then I can’t get in at all. If I’m careful with my time, I can get in around 3 days a week. I come in early and stay until after 6 when the traffic calms down. I’ll sometimes meet my husband in town for tea.

What helps you work? Having other people around. Background hubbub. If it’s too noisy I’ll take myself off to a quieter space or go for a walk with my camera. The way the studio smells and seeing other people working puts my brain into the right mode. On the days where I don’t know what to do, I’ll have a root through my things and find something I’ve forgotten about. It’s like a time capsule!

Describe your 3 favourite possessions in the studio. My book press. It was £110 from eBay. It’s really heavy and we nearly broke the car bringing it home from Rossendale. I use it as a relief press. It’s over 100 years old. The second thing is a to-scale, anatomically correct plastic human skull I bought in Seattle. The third? Has to be the ram’s horn hat I made for out of bike inner tubes for a pagan festival party at The Kazimier (pictured).

If your studio could speak, what would it say? “Tidy me up” (which I have done for your arrival)! I feel it wants to be busy and active. I have had great highs and lows in this space. Time flies here. It’s great when you can get so lost in the process that 8 hours seems like 10 minutes. The time I spend here is incredibly valuable to me.

If there was any important advice you could share with other artists, what would that be? Advice that I’d share with anybody -  be authentic, don’t try to do what’s expected of you to please others. Do something that’s meaningful to you. Be the best version of you that you can be.

You can also buy Jen’s work in our Shop

Posted on 30/03/2012 by thedoublenegative