Shalom Life | October 20, 2014

Top 20 Jews In The Arts - Allison Schulnik

World renowned experimental artist, Allison Schulnik, speaks to Shalom Life for Day 10 of our special feature.

By: Ashley Baylen

Published: April 20th, 2011 in Culture » Art » Interviews

Top 20 Jews In The Arts - Allison Schulnik

Over the next 20 days, ShalomLife will be presenting the Top 20 Jews In The Arts. One artist will be featured a day from various disciplines including visual arts, acting, writing, comedy, and music.

We sent the participating artists the same 30 questions with instructions to answer all, or just a few. Have fun learning about these fascinating individuals, and please check back daily to compare their answers. Enjoy!

Allison Schulnik

Allison Schulnik choreographs her subjects in compositions that embody a spirit of the macabre, a Shakespearian comedy/tragedy of love, death and farce. The subjects often stare back at the audience and study them as they are in turn studied, aware of their ancestors from the Grand Theme works of the past, the genre paintings that inform them. Although a haunting sense of foreboding, discomfort and unease is palpable, a sense of understanding, compassion and hopefulness for her cast of characters is still evident in the heavy impasto paintings. Her sculptural use of oil paint references her clay-animation background, as a motion-like sensibility affords her paintings unparalleled depth and energy.

Born in 1978 (San Diego, CA), Schulnik earned her BFA in Experimental Animation from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia (CA). She has had significant solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Rome and London, and has exhibited in both visual arts shows and film screenings around the world. Her work can be seen in the public collections of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (KS), Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (CA), The Chaney Family Collection (TX), Museé de Beaux Arts (Montreal) and the Laguna Art Museum (CA). She lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

Where do you go when your lacking inspiration?

To my studio

What's your favorite place to travel to?

I like camping, finding some forgotten or neglected place outdoors, whether it’s forest, desert or ocean really doesn’t matter. I also love big cities, New York, London, Paris. I guess I like the polar opposites.

Do you have any pets? Tell us about them.

I have twin, un-pure Siamese runt kitties. They never grew past a couple pounds a’ piece even though they are 8 or so years old. Named Gin and Juice after the song because they are from the LBC. Left out front a pet store in a cardboard box, only to later find a happy home in sunny Burbank, and then even later, sunny LA. Juice is the bully beauty who dominates the situation, and Gin the fearful reject with questionable mental stability. Both have made it into my paintings many times.

What's your favorite dish? Where do you normally get it?

Pretty much anything my Pops cooks. It’s too hard to choose one, but some of note would be homemade pasta with clams, smoked brisket, an omelet with a whole lot of smelly cheese and grilled onions, Cantonese shrimp dumplings and a cabbage soup recipe that was his mothers’. Only to be had at the Schulnik abode in San Diego.

Who, in your opinion, is the most beautiful person on earth?

Will it make you dry-heave if I say Eric Yahnker? Okay, and Tom Jones.

What's your biggest pet peeve?

Laziness

Are you religious? Spiritual? Nothing at all?

Making paintings and things, dance, animation and music are spiritual for me.

What's your favorite movie?

I am not decisive enough to choose one. Troll, Excalibur, Playtime, Snow White (1929), Aguirre Wrath of God, A Chorus Line (1985) ...

TV Show?

Seinfeld, Monty Python…

Musician/band?

Scott Walker, Harvey Milk, Maiden, Michael, Sabbath, Streisand…

If you weren't performing, what would you be doing?

Hopping trains.

Can you offer a piece of advice to aspiring artists?

Have constant undying integrity, confidence and passion. If you can’t do that, then give it up.

Who's your best friend?

I guess he is the answer to at least two questions here, Eric Yahnker

What's your biggest regret?

Yet to be determined…. Does that sound too George Bush-ey?

Do you play any sports?

I used to be an all-star softball player, mainly in the position of Pitcher and First base.

What are you better at than most other people you know?

Singing Anita Baker’s Giving You the Best that I Got, while drinking Budweiser Tall-can Micheladas.

What is your biggest weakness?

Cheese.

Do you have any vices?

Maybe.

Is there a quote or motto that you live by?

“Don’t follow the music, Be the music” - Louis Horst

If you could work with a specific person, who would it be?

Scott Walker.

Tell us something about yourself we might be surprised to hear.

I love Kobe Bryant.

How would you describe your personal style?

A lot of everything, too much of nothing and a teeny bit of something.

What is your favorite song to sing?

That’s a tough tie between Free Man by Angel Witch, and Don’t Rain on My Parade by Barbara Streisand.

Where is your primary residence? Do you consider this place "home"?

I have two homes, where I sleep and rest in Echo Park, and my studio where I live in Lincoln Heights.

Who's your favorite author?

Edgar Allen Poe.

Do you watch reality TV?

Only American Idol.

Do you prefer road trips or flying?

Both.

What one word would you use to describe yourself?

Indecisive.

What item do you never leave your house without?

Underwear.

Tea or coffee? From where?

Heavy black crack-ppuccinos with foamy milk from the Schulnik dwelling in San Diego.

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