Today we’d like to introduce you to Rebecca Aloisio.
Rebecca, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
How we come into our voice as artists depends on many variables—our birthplace, our past histories, our personal identities, and our professional training. Seemingly trivial events can carry powerful agency through nostalgia, regret, or shame.
In 1988, Kodak film was the singular medium for photography and one shot literally took all. There were no delete buttons, screen previews or redeye corrections. It was also the year I had my first school picture day. For many parents and teachers, school portraits held major significance and preparations for this annual event were both critical and costly. At the age of five, I didn’t grasp the importance of this once-a-year ritual. Instead of posing with a smile like the rest of my kindergarten classmates, I sobbed uncontrollably. I don’t remember why I was distressed, but I remember that my photo was not “normal”. My parents did the rare thing and had the photo re-taken (after I was coached extensively on posture and expression). Most interestingly, with the exception of a forced smile, the second photo was nearly an exact duplicate to the first – same clothes, same hairstyle, same background, and same lighting as the original. This experience taught me more than just to smile for the camera. Images suddenly had the power of reconstruction.
As my parents felt compelled to recreate a more palatable version of my kindergarten image, I have found myself drawn to similar concepts of idealism and staged reality through pictures. Navigating this paradigm is at the core of my practice. I want to make images that speak beyond abstraction. I want viewers to be accountable, questioning and challenging the authenticity of what they are seeing.
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
My current work involves the manipulation of forms through digital appropriation, deconstruction, and pastiche. The images negotiate between the flat and the spatial incorporating a variety of media ranging from drawing, collage, painting, and printing. I re‐make or re‐purpose representational or objective contemporary information in an effort to make an original “thing”: something seemingly tangible and beyond abstract. The images create visual tension emergent from the overlap of illusion with representation ‐‐ with what is seen as opposed to what is understood.
We are confronted daily with constructions of truth in the form of images, especially through social media. These politics of vision quietly shape our history and actions while blurring the line between fact and invention. Navigating this paradigm is at the core of my practice. I want to make images that speak beyond abstraction. I want viewers to be accountable, questioning and challenging the authenticity of what they are seeing.
Do you think conditions are generally improving for artists? What more can cities and communities do to improve conditions for artists?
For me, the greatest challenge is the waning amount of available time. As I accumulate jobs in an effort to support my family and fund my practice, the less time I have to develop the work itself. While teaching positions and weekend jobs provide income, they are demanding and deplete free time and resources. I am in a continuous battle, struggling against increased debt, developing lesson plans, grading student work, and committee participation.
My situation may not be very unlike others. In fact, I find the growing network of powerful and motivated artists surrounding me inspiring. This diverse group of people humbles me and reminds me to keep pushing ahead. I am grateful for the support I have received from certain artists and creative professionals. I think it is through reciprocating this generosity within our own communities, we as artists, can realize our intentions and broaden our reach.
What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
You can find some of my artist prints for sale through the organization, Lunch Money Print. They are a unique online resource featuring collections of limited paintings, prints, and drawings. https://lunchmoneyprint.com/.
Artwork by Rebecca Aloisio