Allison Morris is an emerging fine art photographer based out of Toronto and Montreal. She has exhibited internationally in Toronto, Florence, and Belgrade. Allison has recently completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography at the Ontario College of Art and Design University, and spent her third year of study abroad as part of OCAD University’s Off-Campus Florence program in Italy.
Allison’s artistic practice explores themes of female representation, the construction of femininity, beauty, youth, identity, and performance from a feminist perspective. She uses self-portraiture as a tool with which she can control her images and challenge the male gaze by consciously performing for the camera and herself.
What has pushed you into becoming an artist? Any relevant life event?
I wish I could say that there was a single defining moment, but to be honest I’ve never considered any other paths. Creating art has always been my most intuitive form of expression.
How would you describe your work and aesthetic?
I like to think of my work as a look into the darker side of beauty. All of my work is self portraiture, and is usually influenced by the constructive forces behind femininity and beauty culture. I tend to be drawn to using stereotypically “feminine” colours and patterns in satirical or unexpected ways.
What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
I’ve made myself a rule, which is to make myself do one thing a day that will benefit my work. Whether that means going to my studio and shooting, something as little as sharing work with fellow artists or submitting to a call, knowing I’ve done at least one thing to progress motivates me to continue. I’m not always perfect at this, but it really does make a difference!
What do you think are the biggest struggles of an artist?
Getting up and making something! It’s easy to feel down about your own work, and I’ll often go through slumps where I feel like my work isn’t getting anywhere. It’s important to push through this and keep creating. I think every time an artist creates something they progress in some ways, whether they realize that or not.
What do you do to get into your creative zone?
My work in particular takes a lot of inspiration from the fashion and beauty industry, specifically how they market themselves towards women. I find that flipping through magazines and watching advertisements often sparks inspiration for me. I also draw a lot of inspiration from materials themselves, so I love searching through thrift stores and even my own closet for objects or textiles that will spark an idea for me.
What is your typical kind of day like, if there’s such a thing for you as a typical kind of day?
I’m not sure I have one! I recently made the decision to leave my job and relocate to Montreal, attempting to put more focus on my personal work and creative life. So, more recently, my days have been spent getting to know the city and putting my new home studio space together.
How do you reflect on your creative process & make sure that you are creating something that is true to yourself?
I think the biggest revelation I’ve had as a young artist was realizing that making the work that comes naturally to me isn’t a bad thing. It’s easy to look at work from other artists and compare it to yourself, but I’ve come to realize that being different is an advantage.
What would be the artistic project or collaboration of your dreams?
Suzy Lake! She is such an influential Canadian artist who I’ve had the honor of showing some of my process work to, and it was a conversation I’ll never forget.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you have and why?
My dog because I can’t live without him. Spaghetti to keep me strong. The album “Tapestry” album by Carole King, obviously.
One book? One movie? One Song?
(Currently reading) The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. Edward Scissorhands. Fantasy by Mariah Carey.