A Conversation with the Artist Allyssa Liliane

Simply sitting in her presence immediately invites you into a creative headspace. She is inquisitive in ways that welcome the unknown in places ranging from your favorite cartoon to answers from the universe. The Florida local refuses to conform to the normative in her work and instead will choose to incorporate her unique blend of surrealist visuals. It’s important that these elements are present because it’s what makes her work recognizably her own.  

It’s clear as soon as you scroll through her Instagram what this look is. These elements are stylized cartoons accompanied by realistic portraits that are familiar but excitingly foreign. They are painted on unconventional surfaces from hand bags to the occasional “wet floor” sign. In our interview we saw two large canvas pieces that stood (though one fell down for a moment) behind her. The works were pieces of feminine bodies worshiped by bug-like fairies, exposed third eyes, and complimentary structures. 

When taking commissions she wants her work to not only physically resemble the patron but completely emulate their personality. Finding out what their favorite childhood cartoon is one of her favorite methods. In a work in progress she showed us, Allyssa stylized the portrait to turn the individual into a beloved character from the early 2000s. It’s her way of creating something completely individualized and tailored to the commissioners while still staying true to her style.

Beyond her creativity, she is incredibly adaptable to change. Her pet cockatiel, Christian, began chirping away during the interview but it failed to stop her. Almost akin to a storybook character, the bird found rest on top of its owner’s head and she didn’t mind. That same adaptability came into play when the high price tag stole her opportunity to revel in her acceptance to PRATT University. She was forced to look elsewhere but that route still led to greatness. While now working towards becoming an art psycho-therapist, her work has been on display around the country. Her favorite feature was in Chicago where she felt the space was the most collaborative and appreciated by kin in the art scene. 

When it comes to the creating process Allyssa “loves to wait but hates the end result.” Oil paint is one of her favorite mediums because of its complexity before the final result. It requires an extreme amount of patience between the slow drying layers of paint – something that Allyssa loves about creating. But through the learning curve of artistic exploration there are sometimes results that fail to meet her expectations. When faced with this, she had learned to accept and move on. It’s a policy she carries with her beyond just her art.  

Regardless of the outcome, the process was successful because “art is a form of meditation.” It is a silent way to keep your brain to focus and tune in to the process of creating. It is a moment to relieve yourself from issues especially when words fail. The artist explained to us how it provides a voice to complex feelings and emotions. Painting in itself is a moment of focus and freedom. 

Throughout her life Allyssa has learned the importance of talking to and checking in with yourself. Providing herself with regular positive affirmations has opened the door to creating a relationship with herself. By doing so that relationship turned into love. To maintain her self love, she unabashedly speaks to herself aloud. She does it whenever and wherever, “the grocery store, even on the phone with other people.” It’s become such a part of her nature that it’s a surprise to her when others reveal that they don’t do the same. That relationship taught her “if you can make yourself laugh and make yourself happy, it will become that much easier to be happy around other people.”

Written by Waverly C.

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