The Ralliers is a collection of interviews with female creators we admire. We look for women who make hard choices in exchange for self-defined lives. You'll leave these stories with wisdom, comfort and beauty too.
I am an interdisciplinary artist exploring where Spirit and Matter meet. I live in Brooklyn, I love learning, beauty, people, going deep but not taking it all too seriously, either.
How have you broken with traditions or norms created by other people in exchange for a self-defined life?
I feel like in some ways this is a nature vs nurture question. And hopefully this isn't a cop-out answer, but I really feel like I've always walked to my own beat. Not saying that it's been an easy path doing so, it's definitely not that, but the suffering I experience not listening to my intuition is always vastly greater than any suffering/challenge/conflict that comes from listening to the greater pull inside of me. I think the difference is I have greater capacity to sit with discomfort when I know I'm not conflicted internally. And that comes with a growing willingness toward responsibility. A word I used to loathe. But now I see it as being an active participant of life - I will gladly take mistakes (lessons) I've chosen, over being at the whim of others any day.
Tell us about your work.
I create meditation paintings and intuitive abstract art with the idea that we are in constant relationship with the art and objects around us, that they have an energy and impact all their own and we can create transformation in our lives and well-being when we engage with art that imbues our space and psyche with the energy we want magnified. I'm also interested in finding the sacred in the mundane - that spirituality doesn't have to be grandiose, or something outside ourselves, that being human is innately spiritual. I'm also a performer, I think the main through-line is the need to express - and that comes out in painting, writing, and acting.
What do you most want us to know about living a creative life?
That creativity is not (necessarily) commerce, or production. I talk to so many people who deny their creativity because it's not tied to artistry or business. But creativity to me is really a way of engaging with life, the ability and willingness to listen to, and respond to desire with action.
Tell us about your style of living.
I think the core value of my style of living is the need for freedom. I love variety and new experiences. I used to think of myself as a very risk averse person, and I am - only now I realize that what risk looks like to me is stagnancy. The flip side of this is as it turns out, it takes A LOT of structure to feel free and at peace and not chaotic disguised as freedom. My interest in spirituality, philosophy, and mystery also help me to feel free but not untethered.
What do you most want other women to know?
Well, I don't know that I have a definitive answer to this, but what I'm currently contemplating is not pushing any parts of myself away. Not any of the so-called negative attributes, not what might make other people uncomfortable (this includes areas that I excel in which hiding can be its own covert little trap). Allowing and noticing what feelings, sensations, moods arise in me and instead of automatically trying to correct, judge, or immediately change - just practicing being present with them. Let what is, be. Not causing harm continues to be important to me but I'm less interested now in being "good" and more interested in being true.
What do you know now that you didn't know last year?
I love this question. I create lists on my socials that I call "Things I'm thinking about" and I'd love to answer this that way:
- when you don't know how to move, it's better to be still.
- that the feeling of "not-enoughness" can be the internalization of an experience not being enough for you.
- sometimes you have to follow the yes even if you don't know or understand the why.
- that we make up stories about people ALL THE TIME - and there's so much more peace in saying "I don't actually know".
- that intimacy can exist as layers, rather than the door being either open or closed. Access to one part of me doesn't equal access to all parts, and that's okay. Just as a boundary to one part isn't a denial of all.
- if you don't know what you want, you won't get it.
What are you searching for?
I am still learning how to receive. I'm searching for new ways to allow openness and grace.
What brings you ease?
Pleasure. I find that meditation and spiritual teachings bring me resiliency, and tools for relating to myself and the world around me, but what brings me the sensation of ease? A delicious meal. The sounds of dishes clinking at a dinner party. A sudden burst of sunset sky that turns everyone's gaze up in wonder. Hearing an old song you used to love but forgot about. Sweatpants and Pu'erh tea. Aimless walks all over Brooklyn. Being near water. Laughing with friends. Although when I feel really in the thick of things and ease doesn't feel accessible I do love listening to Ram Dass talks on the podcast Be Here Now. That was one of the only things that got me through the height of the lock-down with any semblance of sanity.
Something you've just discovered.
Hmm I'm going to have to go full Venusian and share a product I love... The Josie Maran Whipped Body Butter it's become the only cream I will put on my body. I love the feeling of a slow massage right before bed. It's so moisturizing but light and gives the perfect amount of glow and leaves my skin so soft. Perfect for sensitive skin, and sensitivities to smell and texture. It's gorgeous.
Share a good read, watch, or listen.
I love documentaries - I really love witnessing choices people make, the consequences (positive and negative), the patterns... all of it. I'm a huge fan of American Masters on PBS in general, and last year I was deeply moved by the 2017 doc Chavela about the singer Chavela Vargas.
Something you've recently created.
I recently finished a play called The Wanderers... it was my first show since before lock-down, and it was really enriching to create in such a collaborative and generous way again. That kept me out of my studio Oct-Dec... now looking forward to returning to solo work to see what comes through - each form of expression always teaches me something about the other.
A gift you gave someone.
The first thing that comes to mind is a bamboo milk frother I gave my boyfriend, we always start our mornings together either in tea ceremony, or over matcha, or recently with bulletproof coffees. He really REALLY loves well designed functional objects (he was a product designer - so he has very high standards haha). And it felt so good to get him something I knew he'd really enjoy, use, and appreciate. And I appreciate sharing it with him too.
Creativity comes in cycles. Winter always comes. Void space. The New Year jump start just feels less and less aligned for me each year. I notice that the more I respect my down time the more fruitful and joyous my active time is. And that is really really challenging because...capitalism. I don't know that down time is always enjoyable for me but I do notice the more I fight it the longer it tends to last. This is definitely a place where I am actively practicing breaking norms. Respecting my capacity. And I think if we all respect our own capacity we can meet each other with more compassion and gentleness. We all need it.
Allison is an artist exploring the bridge between Spiritual receptivity and Material making, and how they are in constant, inseparable play. Her meditative abstract paintings are informed by contemplative practices, color psychology, other ways of knowing, emotion, and the beginner’s mind. You can follow her on instagram @allisonstrickland learn more about her work and commission process at allisonstrickland.co.
P.S. The pieces in our stories are always authentically picked. When purchased, we sometimes receive compensation in return. Thank you for supporting!
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