Featured Artist: Jen Allison

FK talks to Sydney based Jen Allison about her amazing origami based artwork.

How would you describe the style of your work?
My style is dictated by my medium – paper, and my technique – origami. I don’t use origami in a traditional way, my work is usually simple in design with clean lines and bold colours. Sometimes the concept of the work is more important than the style… and it’s often these ones that end up with the most style!

What is your background and how did you get to where you are today?
I have been working with paper for 9 years or so. I used to do a lot of collage works, but then 4 years ago I was given a book about origami and my work evolved into the 3rd dimension. Origami has endless possibilities and I do think I’m just getting started with it really.

Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?
I find inspiration in day to day life, the big issues as well as the trivial things. Some of my works have a social bent. Going to new places always inspires me and seeing creative people creating awesome things all over the world.

Where did you like to go in Melbourne for inspiration?

Although I am based in Sydney now, I lived in Melbourne a while back and I love the arts scene there. The Rose St Artist’s Market is a great little design market filled with good people making very good things. In Melbourne there are a lot of shops and galleries that support artists at the grassroots level and it’s always good to see what’s being produced by the locals.

What do you love most about working with paper?
I like the clean lines of paper and I also like that it’s not as common or traditional as other mediums… although it’s getting quite popular which is uber exciting. I like the traditions and rules of origami – it suits me to work with a discipline. I love the 3D aspect and it’s also very convenient – one can fold on the bus if need be!

How has your creative style developed and what is your working process?
My works developed from drawing and painting a lot to making collages and now folding. I think my creative style is sort of innate, I don’t think it’s changed much since I was a kid! I have never been afraid of bright colours and my work has always been kind of androgynous. My working process is to suddenly, out of the blue, come up with an idea and then develop it. I can’t force ideas, I don’t work like that.

What has been your favourite project to work on?

I always enjoy the personalised commission pieces that I make. They’re usually a combination of a client’s ideas and my own and it’s nice to collaborate. I will usually use the client’s own photographs and often the works are gifts so it’s nice to know you’re working on something that will mean a lot to someone.

How was your debut collection at Finders Keepers Sydney?

FK Sydney was tip-top! It was good to get my Christmas shopping done actually…


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