“I think that people who see my work online might be surprised to know that I’m actually quite reserved and introverted. My art doesn’t really reflect that so in a way I am living vicariously through it and showing people sides of me they might not see otherwise. Maybe this is super cliché, but I think the point of art is to evoke feelings and I like to make things that feel good. Maybe it makes you smile or makes you laugh and if it does that, then I feel happy with what I’ve created. My goal aesthetic is to be cheerful, energetic, and fresh with a hint of silliness. A lot of my work mixes in elements of comfort and nostalgia too, so for example I do a lot of illustrations of characters having coffee together.
There’s a lot to be annoyed about right now, especially now when the cold and dark and lack of energy gets to you on a daily basis. I try to not focus on the negative but at the same time, you do have to give time and energy to those feelings and recognize what is bad and worth grieving about. It’s a balancing act that puts you face to face with these questions of, “What is your daily motivator?” Those are the types of questions that maybe we have to think more intimately about during a pandemic than we would’ve before. For me, it’s being satisfied with the fact that I’m alive and I’m making it as an artist during a pandemic in Maine. Taking the leap last year to go forward doing art full-time was really scary. I feel very fortunate because I’ve been doing art on the side of other work forever but with each year that has passed, it’s gotten more serious. I face imposter syndrome and feelings of inadequacy a lot, so when I think about how far I’ve come and the fact that I’m living my dream of working for myself in this beautiful space downtown, I’m really proud. My goal is to keep working at what I’m doing day by day and gradually grow it to become more and more sustainable over time.
I’m super thankful for the internet right now. My current focus is my online shop and my Patreon. People can support me through Patreon by signing up at different membership tiers and in return they get access to exclusive content. I also like to update my web shop at least once a month with new pieces. Something exciting that just got announced that has been kept a secret for a while is a collaboration with jewelry artist MackBecks, from Kansas. I sent her some of my shapes and designs and she’s transforming them into wearable pieces that will be sold in April. I’ll be promoting the project closer to then, so people should be on the lookout for that.”
#ThinkGardinerFirst and support local creators and artists like Allison. She can be reached on Facebook (@AllisonMckeenArt) and Instagram (@ allison.mckeen), by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), through Patreon (www.patreon.com/AllisonMckeen), and via her website and online shop (www.allisonmckeenart.com).