Allison Bamcat’s paintings and murals feature fantastic characters and speak color like a language. Animated and engaged with bouncy, Pop surrealist personalities, her animal, botanical, and scrummy treat derivations sparkle with a supercharged palette — giving an undeniable sense of pleasure that swirls around more pensive, even unsettling, states of being. Stylized, crisp, and energetic scenes of birds and monsters, flowers and snacks are also thoughtful color stories that captivate the eye as well as the imagination, spinning just enough of a tale to touch on the feverish emotions of our shared humanity. December has been Bamcat’s busy season, with features at DesignerCon and Miami Art Week just in the past few weeks — but based on her studio feed, and as her work is particularly giftable, there’s no sign she’s slowing down just yet.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?
ALLISON BAMCAT: My first introductions to art were very early in my life. My mom was a pastel pencil artist, creating geometric, prismatic rainbow pieces that hung on our walls. When I became interested in art as a child, it was easy for me to transition to attending art classes at the local college on weekends. It was the Friends of Visual Art program and I attended weekly from age 8 to 11.
What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?
My work seeks to capture viewers with bright colors and squishy characters, offering them a closer look through strange and unexpected elements.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
If I weren’t an artist — something I can’t really fathom but let’s try — I’m actually pretty comfortable in customer service and feel like I could own a little indie retail shop.
Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?
I graduated high school at 16. I was obsessed with the idea of art school because some of my older high school friends went. I attended some classes with them as a guest starting in my mid-teens, and I knew that art school was right for me.
Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?
While I did grow up in Los Angeles, I spent about fifteen years in Boston, the city where my parents are from. I had a pretty cushy design job there, but I was always yearning to pursue my own style of art over fulfilling endless briefs. My husband changed jobs and I plunged myself into full-time freelance as an artist in 2017. I’m still learning so much about myself and about the kind of career I want to have.
When was your first show?
My first art show that had my name up on the wall was in Boston at Space 242 in 2009. It was with Andy and Veronica Fish, as well as Lindsay Small-Butera, artists and friends who greatly shaped my work early on. Funny enough, after I was married for a few years, I looked at past photos of that show and saw that he had attended, long before we ever met!
When is/was your current/most recent/next show or project?
December is always the time of year where I make my trek out to Miami for Miami Art Week. I’ve been attending each year for almost a decade to paint walls and attend the art fairs. This year I showcased my first inflatable rendition of my work at The Art Plug Powerhouse, and painted a collaboration wall with the crew of Few And Far Women — a massive, multi-block project showcasing female-identifying artists (and beyond) throughout street art and graffiti.
What artist living or dead would you most like to show or work with?
Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what?
Haha, I just got my Spotify wrapped for the year and it’s a lot of Queens of the Stone Age, The Mars Volta, Aesop Rock, and true crime podcasts.
Website and social media handles, please!
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