Name: Zoe Allison
Occupation: Visual Arts Coordinator, Real Art Ways
Location: Hartford, Connecticut
I would love to be a minimalist. In theory, it would be great if I just had ten things that were mine that I needed and that I used all the time. But I’m just not like that. I feel like being a minimalist isn’t just about having a few things, but also about your mindset. Streamlining and all that, focusing on a few things at a time. It’s more of a lifestyle than only owning two t-shirts and two pairs of shoes. And to me, right now, it’s just not realistic. I always have more than I need, dealing and making with artists and art all day. You can’t be submerged in art without doing that. And my wardrobe, I’m always in the thrift store, so it’s impossible for me not to accumulate an abundance of cheap, unnecessary stuff. It’s so bad. Terrible, really. I mean, I carry a basket instead of a bag because I always have so much stuff.
Laptop | I bring my laptop with me because it’s portable, and sturdy, and it’s been with me since college. She’s reliable. That way I can do my work out in the gallery and interact with people coming into the space, which is so much more rewarding for me. I have an office, but I hate using it, which is so unprofessional for me to say. I just feel that the mission of Real Art Ways is the marriage between people and art. The whole point is to get average, everyday people to interact with art in a relaxed environment. You go to art museums and sometimes they feel so cold and uninviting, almost exclusive. You know what I mean? Like everything is too protected to touch. Real Art Ways is different than most art museums because we want to fight against that feeling and spread the message that art is for everyone.
Ingredients | Cooking brings so much stability to my life, so I feel like I always have an ingredient with me of some sort. It’s so revealing that I have this on me right now. I bring food from home into work every day because I cook all the time. It’s therapeutic for me. This Tupperware container is the perfect size to bring the leftovers of whatever I experimented with the night before, today it’s just chickpea soup. If I couldn’t cook my own food at least three times a week, I’d probably go crazy. I learned to cook from my grandmother, who has since passed, so my love of cooking feels like a ritual, an homage to her. Right now I have a chocolate bar, which I can only get at Ten Thousand Villages in West Hartford because they’re fair trade. I’m trying to learn to make Injera. It’s Ethiopian bread that you use to eat food with, and it’s made with this really specific flour, Teff Flour from Trader Joe’s. I’ve never made it before, but my friends and I host these dinners every few months at Art Space in Downtown Hartford. We like having themes because it’s the best way to streamline the conversation and give a true focus.
Slaughterhouse Five | I always have a book on me, which is honestly kind of misleading because I barely have time to read. But when I do have time, I always fall back into the same book, Slaughterhouse Five. Kind of a grim topic, but Kurt Vonnegut is one of my favorite authors now. To be honest, I only read it when I was at UMass Amherst to impress this cute professor I really liked. He didn’t fall for it, but I’ve read it about ten times since then. It’s the same copy from my dorm room, and that feels like forever ago. I also have a copy of an article from the Atlantic. Technology is such a great resource to have, but I enjoy reading things more in their paper form. I hate reading important documents through a screen. I feel as though I better connect with things when there’s a tangible relationship, even over something as simple as the written word.
Nasri Charles, Blue Muse Staff Writer.