We had the good fortune of connecting with Colleen Allison and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Colleen, why did you pursue a creative career?
I grew up in the Texas Panhandle — a place where hard work and tenacity are admired above all. I never realized that there were even careers in the creative field. I thought that art was something you did in your time off from your “real” job. That changed when I turned 18 and took a trip to Los Angeles. A friend took me to MOCA and there happened to be a Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibit. I was immediately taken with his work. It spoke to me all the tangled things my brain tried so hard to work out but couldn’t, like some sort of key. I learned that day first hand the power of art, and perspective, and I switched my major from Pre-Med to Visual Communication soon after. Photography helps me make sense of my thoughts and it also helps me show others how beautiful they truly are. I’m grateful everyday for the opportunity to capture the realness of life — the pain, the struggle, the joy, the love.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think the mark of a creative is never really feeling like you’ve “arrived” — it’s a lifelong practice of showing yourself to others and hoping that they glean something worthwhile from the effort. It’s taking your own pain and condensing it into bite sized pills that you hope will alleviate someone else’s symptoms. When I zoom in on my timeline, the past or even currently, it certainly feels like a difficult journey, but the overall feeling I get when I consider my creative life is one of ease. There always seems to be someone waiting around each corner to cheer me on, I just have to take the steps to get there. I guess that’s the hardest part.

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Oh, I love this question! Without a doubt, first stop post airport pickup (the mark of a true blue Los Angeles friend — they’re willing to pick you up at LAX) would be a warm, freshly made donut from Sidecar Donuts. From there, a walk down to the Santa Monica pier to play air hockey and visit Zoltar for a quick fortune (and maybe some time travel?) We’d take the stairs down and hit the beach, play in some waves, and then rent some bicycles and ride The Strand along the coast to Venice. Once there, lunch at Teddy’s Red Tacos before heading back to return the bikes and grab a Pier Pack from Lanea to enjoy on the beach for sunset. Day two would have us venturing downtown. Coffee at the Harry Potter themed Nimbus coffee before pursuing the shelves of The Last Bookstore. A visit to MOCA and The Broad. In the evening, an LA Lakers game or swing music at Clifton’s Republic. Day three: Echo Park. Breakfast at Millie’s, Lunch to go from El Compadre (best chips and salsa in the world, in my opinion) enjoyed at Echo Park Lake, and a deep dish pizza dinner from Masa. Bonus points if there’s a show happening at the Echo or a Dodger game — both activities that have shaped my Los Angeles experience. Day four starts with a Temescal Canyon hike for beautiful ocean views (on a clear day, you can see all the way from downtown to Catalina Island!) For lunch we would track down the India Jones food truck for the most delicious butter chicken I’ve ever had in my life. After that, a driving trek to track down Drew Merritt’s many incredible art murals, everywhere from Long Beach to Downtown. Dinner at Fat Sal’s because everyone should experience their menu at least once in their lives. Day five has up checking Instagram for a drop from Trap Kitchen to take with us to the Getty for a day of picnicking and seeing and reading and relaxing. Day six is a hike up to Wisdom Tree and then over to the Hollywood sign, a must see in perspective shifts. Everything seems so small from up there. Dinner from Salsa and Beer, the only place in the Valley I’d brave 405 rush hour traffic for. I’m sure I’m missing a whole lot. I love this city we call home so much.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
So many people have helped me out along the way, but I have to give a special shoutout to my great friend Carol. She’s always been such a steadfast and avid supporter of my work and also of me as a person and there’s no way I’d be where I am today without her encouragement and love.

Website: colleenallison.photoshelter.com
Instagram: instagram.com/cols2thewall
Twitter: twitter.com/myfavoritealias
Facebook: facebook.com/colleenallisonphoto

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