Checking in with Allyson Mellberg-Taylor

Checking in with Allyson Mellberg-Taylor

What are you working on these days?
My husband Jeremy [Taylor] and I are making a collaborative drawing or painting—in our case, they’re sort of one and the same. He and I are also working on an untitled book about non-toxic, sustainable art-making and materials. A lot of art books focus exclusively on what you shouldn’t touch and shouldn’t do. It’s like going to an all-meat restaurant as a vegetarian and just being told that there are no other options, so you just can’t eat.


What were you doing just before we called?
I was watching a British TV show with my husband. It’s called “Skins,” about British teenagers.

Favorite tool of the trade?
In terms of a material, I really love my homemade walnut ink. This is something Jeremy introduced me to in graduate school when we started dating, and it’s really amazing. You basically collect rotten walnuts and make ink out of them, and it’s compatible with the egg tempura paints I use, and it’s historical, and after you use it it’s non-toxic.

Plans to exhibit locally soon?

There’s a show at the Bridge in October called Harvest that is both a show and a month of programming. It basically focuses on food, animals, plants—local food and sustainability, and sharing that information with the community at large.

Favorite snack while you’re working?
It’s so bad, because I don’t drink or smoke or have any vices like that, but I love sugar. Normally I don’t drink caffeine, so when I’m working on a show I eat vegan chocolate chip cookies that I make myself, and Coca-Cola. And I get really jacked up and I get a lot of work done. Usually when I get done with a big show I have to detox afterwards.

If you could only bring a single article of clothing with you on tour for a month, it would be…
I have this yellow and blue striped dress that my husband bought me for my birthday a couple years ago. It’s the kind of dress that you could also wear as a shirt if you wanted. And it’s cotton, so whether it’s hot or cold, you’re okay.

What do you carry with you at all times?

Something to draw on. A sketchbook or a notepad.

Guilty pleasure?
Doris Day movies. I don’t really feel that guilty about them. They’re cheesy and I really love all the songs. I totally have a CD of them that I listen to in the car.