Drake AV Club: Alison Postma

Posted by Drake, August 17, 2016

We love getting inside an artist's head, and there is a lot going on in the beautiful mind of Alison Postma. Alison is the third subject from the Drake AV Club that we've profiled, and we can't wait to see her work screening around all Drake properties.

Whether you are a visual artist or not, exploring Alison’s creative process and learning what her eye is drawn to is a curious exercise.

Alison Postma


Drake: You won the AIMIA AGO Photography Prize Scholarship. How did this directly impact your work as an artist? How has it helped you?

AP: It’s intimidating winning a highly regarded prize and then making new work in the same vein after. I’m back to making photographs and lens-based work now, but for a while afterwards it made me experiment with other media, which I think has been really good for my work.

It also helped cushion me coming out of school. I had already made arrangements to pay the year’s tuition before I won the prize, so a lot of it just went into my savings – which meant that after graduating I haven’t been under a ton of pressure to work full time and I’ve had a lot of time to put into artistic projects.

It was also a great kind of first experience working with a large gallery – before I won the prize, my only gallery experience had been through the school.

What is your eye drawn to these days?

I’ve been really into pastel colours and textures that translate well into 2D media. I love a minimal composition of things that look nice together. I like to disregard an object’s function or purpose and isolate it from its context so that all you’re left with is its aesthetic value. I love seeing abstracted objects in images.

I’m coming from a background in photography, so I think a lot about that translation into a flat image when I’m drawn to objects or textures.



What film or TV series are you currently hooked on?

I just finished watching Fargo, and season 2 was the best TV I’ve seen in a long time. I’m not usually a fan of gore or gratuitous violence, but sometimes the show as a whole just works and wouldn’t work without it.

On a visual level the show just looks great – it’s set in the late 70s, so the styling and colour choices have really been considered. The cinematography is beautiful too. There’s a recurring split screen motif throughout the show that is used a little less conventionally and works to add a kind of weird undertone.

Without spoilers there’s also an unresolved supernatural plot – and normally leaving a plot element unresolved would annoy me, but it is done very purposefully and again just makes the weirdness really work.

When do you feel your most creative?

After breakfast and before sunset. Nice natural light is probably the most important factor influencing my creativity. (I’m not a night owl.)

Why did you apply to the Drake AV Club?

I started to experiment with video in the last semester of my undergrad. I actually just happened to stumble onto the application page for the Drake AV and figured it would be a good way to keep me motivated to make work, but also to keep me experimenting in a medium that’s fairly new to me.

I definitely benefit from having a deadline and a set of rules forcing me to make work I might not experiment with otherwise.

Alison Postma

What work will be screening at our properties?

I’m pretty excited about the last video I made – with fun props as weird sculptures in the space of a hotel room. I’m going to keep going in that direction for my next videos that will screen on Drake TV.

What is on your mind a lot these days?

I’ve been in a make-now-think-later zone for the last little while, so a lot of my thoughts have just been around physical and visual concerns – like, how can I make this thing I bought at Home Depot look strange and unfamiliar?

In terms of conceptual concerns, I haven’t been able to shake an interest in the way familiar spaces are distorted and represented in our minds while asleep and dreaming. I’m interested in that feeling of a place or event being slightly off and you can’t figure out why, until you wake up and realize none of it made sense.

I’ve been into Photoshop/glitch kind of stuff photographically, so something like that might make it into an upcoming video.

What is a lesson you recently learned?

In school there’s a lot of focus on explaining your work – which is super important, don’t get me wrong – but getting out of school has been a huge shift for me. The timeline of a project can be as long as it needs to be and I think it’s important to be okay with making something and not knowing why at first. Sometimes you need to make to figure out why you’re doing what you’re doing.

So I guess the lesson is that experimentation is sometimes more valuable to me than a well-defined project with a beginning, middle, end and concept.

Alison Postma

As an artist, how do you differentiate yourself in this world?

I think it’s important to know what and who is influencing your work so that you can talk about your work in relation to artists working in similar ways or themes and know how what you’re doing is different.

For the most part I try to just do whatever comes naturally and not overthink things.

What does happy look like for you?

Falling asleep right when you get into bed.


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Tags: Alison Postma  Drake Art  Drake AV  Drake TV  profile  video art