Hailing from the D.C. Metropolitan area, Allison Thaymon is a 24-year-old visual artist who specializes in photography.

She is also the founder and editor of Purple is to Lavender zine; a zine that aims to bring women of color in the arts from margin to center.

Allison has been involved with art ever since she was a child. Her parents encouraged and supported her artistic endeavors, even though they aren’t artist themselves.

“There are a lot of talented people out there that do not hone on their artistic abilities because there is no guarantee that it will put food on the table. But that’s with anything you set out to do in life. The world doesn’t owe you a good paying job just because you majored in biology or because you received your degree from a reputable college/university.”

She describes her work as “color field photography”, well she made that up, but it fits perfectly.

Allison has been doing photography for ten years, most of her work is black and white photography and later came color film.

“Mastering film photography was tedious and time consuming because it’s a science.”

Around 2014, she began studying color theory and color field painting after she read a bit about it in her Modernism Art History class. She fell in love with it and the work associated with that movement.

“Minimalist abstract paintings became compelling based on the use of colors. I wanted to apply that to my work in some way. But instead, my work is very socially charged, rather than abstract.”

Her work, for the most part, has been about the Black experience. Her artwork speaks for itself. She uses interesting props such as; african american hair products, barrettes, pantone cards, etc.

 “Hair and skin color politics are two subjects I have focused a lot of time and research on. Anything I create requires some form of research. I am always afraid that when discussing both of these subjects in general, and through my work, people are going to look at me like, “Who is this light skin 3c curly hair having chick and why is she talking about either of the two subjects?” I am aware of my privileges and how my phenotype benefits me in a lot of ways. I’ve gotten the text messages from boys telling me how much they prefer lighter girls to darker girls, and I’ve had people of all races swoon over my curly hair.”

What a lot of people don’t know about Allison is that, growing up, she felt like she wasn’t racially ambiguous enough. She has a white-passing biracial mother and a grandmother who is of Melungeon ancestry (free people of color who are descendants of Irish and African indentured servants who also intermarried with Native Americans). They had long, straight and black hair, she didn’t. She wanted to look like them, but didn’t.

“The fetishization of hybridity and mixed bodies has always been a “thing”, and we associate skin color and hair texture/length with how black a person is, when both are a polygenic inheritance.

Like many other black people, I did not want to look black phenotypically, but I still wanted to be immersed in Black culture. I understand that my blackness is a blackness that non-black people can “stomach” a little better, but I didn’t really love my blackness until I was 19 or 20 years old.”

A handful of people inspire Allison, but they have no major influence on her work.

“Being a black woman artist, I am inspired by so many other black women artists just for doing their thing and resisting the margin that the art world pushes us towards. They inspire me to keep going.”

As far as her work, Alma Thomas, Sam Gilliam, and Beauford Delaney inspired her to manipulate color with her work.

Sometimes, it’s just a subject matter or an artist’s process that inspires her. It could be reading, or seeing a certain aesthetic (via instagram).

“For example, that pantone project on instagram where people get those pantone postcards and place any random object of the same color on top of the card, and photograph it. I honestly thought to myself, “I like this aesthetic. How can I make it about Black people?” LOL. So I purchased a bunch of quintessential black hair care products known and used by Black people for years and matched them with the pantone postcards.”

 

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About The Author

I also go by Andie. I’ve been writing since I was young, it’s kinda my thing. I represent Richmond, Virginia always. I’m just trying to put myself and other people on the map.

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