Howdy friends! Are you ready for a Circus Parade, Carnival Rides, balloon adventures, and a Seaside Train Ride? Well, ALL ABOARD, as we embark on a fantastic adventure that takes us Under The Big Top with a special and unique Oopsy Daisy artist! We’d like to introduce you to the very talented artist, Alison Jay, who creates fantastically fun landscapes filled with all sorts of happy and friendly characters to enjoy in the fun! We recently had the pleasure of getting to know more about her and here’s what secrets she let out:
Oopsy Daisy: Did you choose to be an artist, or did art choose you?
Alison Jay: I think a bit of both, really. I always loved drawing, painting, and making things. I have an older sister and a younger brother (all very close in age) and we have all chosen creative careers. Pre-school, my parents lavished us with endless supplies of paint, pencils, modeling clay, Legos, etc. It was before computer games, so we spent most of our time having fun with paint! When I first went to school, my teacher Mrs. Wilson was very encouraging. I remember a cow I made ended up living in the head teacher’s office and a picture I drew of the local vicar made Mrs. Wilson laugh so much she rushed off to show the other teachers. I also won a couple of painting competitions. In fact, looking back, all three of us won painting and art competitions, so it just seemed normal.
AJ: I love old paintings and antiques, so I think the crackle glaze gives my work a slight vintage/antique look. I think there is something very intriguing about old paintings – it feels like looking back in time. Although my crackle varnish is not age-related, I would like it to give a little bit of that feeling.
OD: Do you generally use the same color palette or do you tend to vary your choices?
AJ: I do tend to use the same color palette. I think if you find the colors that work for you it’s easy to stick to them. I must try and be more adventurous!
OD: Your Animal Picnic piece has some very surreal components within it, like the curvy background tree. Do you consider yourself a surrealist?
AJ: I love strange quirky ideas and styles, but I think the label of ‘surrealist’ is too grand for my work. I think if I had time to paint my own subject matter purely for my own pleasure, my work would be a lot more surreal and possibly darker. I love the work of Edward Gorey and other illustrators who manage to get weird and slightly menacing feeling into their work. Maybe one day I’ll try that approach, but for now I am happy to paint jolly elephants and pigs.
OD: Do you have any quirky artist characteristics like painting in your PJs or only eating pasta on the days you create?
AJ: “No I don’t” I’m afraid is the dull answer! I paint nearly every day, so the PJs would be stiff with paint. I do like pasta, but not sure if any food helps my creative juices. It would be great if that were true especially when I am stuck trying to think of interesting compositions.
OD: Name three emotions you would like people to feel from viewing your art.
AJ: It depends on the subject matter, but with the Oopsy Daisy pictures I think mainly joy and fun. I like children to be amused by some of the little details and characters, and adults maybe to feel slightly nostalgic – it’s an interesting question. I have just been painting a night light for Oopsy Daisy and I think in that I tried to get a feeling of calm and reassurance. I think nighttime can be such a scary time for children, but also a magical time. I hope that comes across.
OD: Where do you typically find your inspiration for the characters you create?
AJ: That is a difficult question. I don’t think there is any specific source of inspiration for the characters – they just seem to develop while I’m drawing. I guess the animals for Oopsy Daisy are all anthropomorphic, so I try to give the animals a sense that they are excitable children or people having fun. I love animals – there are so many shapes, sizes, and colours. I particularly like elephants! I imagine them to be the loudest at a party (but they don’t know they are).
OD: If you had to choose another career, what would it be?
AJ: I think I would have to choose another creative career since I am not very good at anything else. I was dreadful at math and chemistry, and I am not very sporty (although I did win the egg and spoon race without realizing it when I was 5!) I was OK at biology. I enjoyed drawing the diagrams of the heart and inner ear, but I don’t think I would make a very good nurse. I think I would love to have been a sculptor, which might sound odd, but when I was a student I made 3-D paper illustrations, so I think I have always been interested in experimenting with other mediums.
OD: Lastly, what are your “artistic” future plans? Are you working any new collections or exciting adventures for your characters?
AJ: I am at present working on a book which I have made up myself – it is a wordless book, so I can’t say I have “written” it, but I think in the future I would like to try and write/illustrate my own books. I am always thinking of ideas for picture books, so hopefully with a lot of practice I might actually write one some day.
Check out art by Alison Jay to discover even more about this fascinating artist!