What is your name?
Alison E Kurek
What is the name of your business?
Alison E. Kurek dba Focus on Art
Where can customers follow your work?
Instagram | Facebook
How did you end up in Buffalo? Are you a Buffalo native?
I was born in Buffalo. I’ve threatened to leave many times but I chose to stay and now am glad of it.
How did you become a ShopCraft member?
I knew a little bit about ShopCraft but didn’t really understand what it was. In March 2017 I ran into Christa at a Creative Mornings event and the conversation began.
In what way(s) is your work and/or lifestyle environmentally friendly?
I try to reuse and up-cycle materials. Years ago it was primitive antique cheese boxes that I used as frames — along with rhinestone jewelry that I cut up and used as head dresses for my creatures – and old keys…. Now I’m working with paper mache and clothe mache – turning newspapers and thrift store bed sheets into fun new creations. And, of course, I’ve saved over 20,000 bottle caps from making their way to a landfill by turning them into magnets.
Describe your creative process in as much detail as possible:
Originals: My work begins with stretched canvas, modeling compound, recycled fabric or paper and acrylic paint. I make a sketch of my original design with pencil before starting an underpainting. My paintings are built up in many overlapping layers. At times I use hand drawn and hand cut stencils as well as brushes and palette knife. Occasionally I will use an altered original photograph as my background image. All photos are taken by me, printed on canvas with archival ink, and altered with acrylic paint. I attach hand sculpted figures, masks, and accents to my painted images. I hand sculpt many of my attachments out of synthetic clay as well as recycled fabric and paper. I often paint the attachments so that they blend seamlessly with the image on canvas. In addition to sculptural elements, I incorporate wire, recycled metal and found objects into my work. I securely attach all clay figures and attachments to canvas with a strong adhesive and, when needed, back supports. When all is dry I use a finishing varnish on my mixed media paintings. ** I address life issues with some of my works, but my main mission as an artist is to make people smile. We live in a complicated, hectic world. My images are intended to make the viewer stop and enjoy the current moment.
New in 2018: I am incorporating paper mache and clothe mache into my body of work. The new materials allow for larger, more lightweight attachments to my canvases as well as free standing artworks. It also gives me the opportunity to use more recycled and up-cycled materials.
New in 2018: Watercolor, ink and colored pencil illustrations.
I offer a line of gift products based on my original designs. They include greeting cards, magnets and ornaments.
What does it mean to you to be a member of an artist collective like ShopCraft?
It’s great to be part of a community of creatives. We understand things about each other’s work/businesses that isn’t always apparent to others. ShopCraft offers support in so many ways, it’s a home base, it’s a place to find and sometimes give back a bit of inspiration.
How do you order your wings?
Medium with extra sauce on the side.
What is the most meaningful thing a customer/client has said to you about your work?
I sold a still life photo through a gallery that featured a fortune cookie with the fortune: This is your Lucky Day! ps — just kidding. A while later the man who purchased it found me at an art festival. He had trouble walking, crutches attached to both arms. He explained that he had been in a severe accident and had broken almost every bone in his body — yet he survived. He said he looked at my art everyday because it spoke to how he felt about his life. Somehow, in some small way, my art helped him cope.
If you could share a piece of advice with people who think they are ‘not creative’, or don’t think their art is ‘good enough’, what would it be?
While it may sound counter intuitive, my advice is to accept your “limitations”, find something that you are good at and have some fun it. You’ll be surprised how those limitations change, fall away, morph once you’ve stopped trying to be perfect.
What about Buffalo inspires you?
For a small city, Buffalo has a large heart.
What is your super power?
Making people laugh!
What is your favorite charitable organization?
Do I have to choose just one? When able, I donate to both the City Mission and SPCA of Erie County. My theory for the City Mission is — “ there but or the grace of God go I…” ; and all of my animals have been SPCA rescues so that’s a natural fit. Plus I volunteer at an ESL Drop in site through Literacy New York Buffalo Niagara.
Tell us a joke:
Um — I’d rather draw a picture that’ll make you smile 🙂
What is your most prized possession?
LOL — my inborn sense of humor. It comes in handy at difficult times.