Alyssa Love is a recent University of Wisconsin Oshkosh graduate where she received her BFA. She works in acrylics to create compositions that are reminiscent of plaid but she has begun to take the rules of designing plaid and begun to push the boundaries to create something new. She recently worked on the project Community Chords: Engagement Through Music and Art, where she worked with other artists to display designed pianos around the city of Appleton to be played by anyone and to celebrate and appreciate Hmong culture. Alyssa has also recently been on display in the Center for the Arts in Wausau as well as the Trout Museum in Appleton. She currently lives and works out of Appleton, Wisconsin and is expanding her portfolio so that she may apply to graduate schools.
Ever since I was little, I was obsessed with plaid. I appreciated the calming presence of a grid and pleasing color. For a moment that was all I thought about; a structured pattern that could be a lot more complex than originally thought. I began to create my own and filled sketchbook after sketchbook.
Eventually I was able to take a weaving class and began to understand plaid on another level. In this class I was able to create what I consider “classic plaids”. I would weave and be enthralled watching it slowly come together thread by thread, becoming more defined with each pass. At its root’s plaid is just an optical illusion. Two colored threads woven so close together that from a distance they appear to create a whole new color.
With this new knowledge I am able to finally create concise plaid patterns, as before I had felt they always lacked something. It occurred to me that I can paint these plaids and I have been thrilled to begin experiencing them on a larger and more complex scale. Acrylic paint allows me to have immense control over the work. I can make perfectly sharp lines. I can get whatever color I need. While life continues to be the chaotic mess it always has been, there is one place I can still have control to create.
There are many rules that go into weaving a plaid. It is more than just squares and intersections of color. There are many simple things that add to the pattern and make it what it is. While I am definitely a person that loves rules, I have begun to discover that some rules have to be broken to actually make a painting function correctly. I have begun to push boundaries. I try to see what rules can be broken or shifted. Overtime I am learning how to take plaid patterns and make them my own. I remove rules or change them entirely to create compositions that have moved beyond their plaid origin. I have taken a set collection of guidelines and made a new creation. I continue to search and try to find the perfect place between structure, freedom, and control.