Allison Radomski- A Woman Who Makes Art
Allison Radomski (she/her/hers) is an absolute badass, whether she would claim that for herself or not. She is a vivacious, empowering goddess who hails from Minnesota. She moved to Atl for graduate school, which she has fearlessly taken a step back from to pursue art. You can find said work here.
When did you know you were gay?
I started to feel attracted to women when I was a kid. We were on a family vacation and our server was so beautiful. I think I was attracted to her, but I also wanted to be her. In elementary school I realized I liked boys and girls. While I didn’t know what this word “gay” meant, I knew I was it. Now my sexuality is kind of fluid. That’s why I prefer the term “queer.” Feeling attraction to both women and men was really confusing for me. Sometimes it still is. I love both boobs and chest hair. How can this be! It wasn't until my divorce that I've allowed myself to explore this.
What is something painful that you have lived through?
I made so many plans for my life that I've never lived. I was twenty-two when I got married. It was my fourth year in college. He was my calculus tutor. I feel like when you fall in love, you marry someone. It's just what you do. It was this unspoken pressure that I felt. I've always felt kind of young for my age. There's a lot in that story. I never went through a rebellious stage, it never even occurred to me. I'm still kind of sorting through all that stuff. For me, marriage was like transferring the authority figure of my parents to my husband. Being with him I learned to think differently and more critically, probably too critically. I realized that nothing in my life looked the way I wanted it to.
Do you believe in regrets?
I don’t know. It’s complicated. There are some things that I know I could have done better. I know there was also a lot of pain that I have caused. I don’t mean to excuse my own shitty behavior. Hurting people in relationships is inevitable though. So that’s something I’ve been trying to do recently, cut my young self some slack. It’s not to excuse myself, but I did my best. I wasn’t a perfect person, but that’s ok. The choices that I made, made me who I am today. And I like me. So I want to honor that.
So what does love feel like?
Oh shit man. I might have an answer now and I might have a different one later. The experiences of love that I have had are not ones I want to continue. My experiences have been stressful. I want to use the word skittish. I was afraid of becoming disenfranchised or devalued. I made so many decisions based on deeply ingrained gender roles and a skewed sense of duty. I somehow learned to expect less from my relationships. I learned that being unhappy and dissatisfied was normal, and that higher expectations for my life and relationships were unrealistic and selfish. Now, I think love is about feeling safe. I want to know someone else and I want to be known. To just simply be without any fear, I feel like that’s the core of the love experience. Love feels like a resting place.
Do you believe in soul mates?
Snap! I don’t know. I love the idea of it, so I’m leaning towards yes. I think that finding you soul mate requires growing into your best self, so we have to keep growing in order to find or keep said mate? That’s my best guess!
What are you passionate about?
I’m very much an extrovert. I like chatting people up. That’s why I love my job. I’m a server at a really chill place. I get to give people shit and joke around with people and I like that. That's why I’m also interested in ministry. When I first heard about chaplaincy I wasn’t even religious. I didn’t quite believe that people would talk to stranger while they were in crises. It's amazing and seemed like a thing for me. I like hearing people’s stories and interacting with them.
I’m passionate about badass women who just do whatever they want because it makes them happy. That’s why I like art. You just make something to make it without a specific reason. It’s like joy is enough of a reason to create.
I’m also passionate about spiritual practices because I don’t have any. I’m recently getting into it and I’m enjoying it. I think it’s good for me.
What is that? Like people, art, and God? Yeah, I’m passionate about those things!
What does painting mean to you?
Painting was a big part of me becoming my own woman. I had this really cool teacher who believed you couldn't make a mistake; that painting can never be ruined, it's just something more to work with. I always had this fear of mistakes growing up. To be in this space where I could do whatever I wanted without mistakes was really empowering for me. Now art is this huge money suck and I do it because I love it. It doesn’t matter. I do it just because I love it and that's enough. So here I am. This is my studio. All of me is in it.
Tell me about your genitalia art
It started last summer. I was working at library where I sat at a desk. I just started doodling. I started drawing dicks and I enjoyed it. I wondered why I wasn’t drawing fallopian tubes though. We accept dicks easily enough but our own genitalia we often think it’s gross. Genitalia art is about reclaiming the body. I didn't learn my body anatomy until I was 26, 27? I just didn’t know what was going on down there. As women we don't necessarily know about our bodies or how to talk about our bodies. And I just don’t understand my body sometimes. I don't get it. There’s a lot going on down there. So the project started as a sense of not knowing a lot about my own genitalia. Women aren’t really encouraged to explore our anatomy. There’s a lot of our own selves that were not even aware of.
What is it like to have your own studio?
Having a space that is all mine that I don’t have to justify to anyone is huge! Self sacrifice is huge in the Christian culture, especially for women. For me, being a woman making art seems like a political act going against what women are told to do. Physical space is a thing for everyone but especially me. My ex-husband had a thing about spending money. To some degree money is a reflection of value. So we lived in a studio apartment. I never had any privacy. Our space was full of his shit. If we had two of anything, we kept his and got rid of mine. When I got divorced I moved into a fancy neighborhood in Chicago and lived in an overpriced studio on the 10th floor. It was worth every penny because it made me stand taller. That’s what this space is like. It’s all mine.
What do you aspire to be?
It’s kind of a long story but I aspire to be a badass woman. Part of this for me was getting a divorce and realizing that I could do whatever I wanted. I could finally do all those teenage rebellious acts that I had never done. Like eating potato chips and ice cream for dinner. It also meant taking up my own space. I used to shape myself out of men’s shadows and carried the weights of his categories: wife, lover, mother. Now, I have realized my own value. Being my own person, that is something valuable. Simply, I want to be a free, badass woman, who finds value in herself.
What advice would you give to someone coming out?
Uh. I don’t know that I’m the best advice giver. I myself am not entirely out. Even in Atlanta I’m not fully out. I’m really comfortable with my sexual preference so it doesn’t feel like a big deal to me. It’s just something that feels natural. But for me just bluntly saying “I like women and men,” is the equivalent of saying your specific sexual preferences. Its awkward. You don’t just say it. So I causally refer to my interest in women.
But uhhhh. I don’t know. I don’t even know good fucking advice. I feel like I need advice from people! People?