Friday, June 24, 2022

Somerville painter Sandra Allik : A Very Colorful Past, and a very colorful Artist

I met Sandra Allik in her space at the Miller St. Studios in Somerville, Ma. Her studio is a bubble of color--with many vivid paintings lining the walls.

Allik told me she finds the artistic environs in Somerville pleasing. She said, "I love my studio. I moved here in 2009; and presently there are a great group of artists working here. Recently I exhibited at the Inside/Out Gallery--which is basically a CVS window in Davis Square. I sold one of my paintings for 1800 dollars. I was surprised it sold  because it was in an unassuming store window." Obviously Allik knows that Somerville is fertile grounds for artists. Allik went on to explain how supportive the Somerville Arts Council is, and she is quite enthused about the Somerville Open Studios event that was recently held.

Allik, in another life, was a television journalist for the Canadian Broadcast Corporation and worked with CBS as well. She happened to be in the Washington Bureau during the heady Watergate years. She recalled, " It was an extraordinary time for me. I was in Washington at this time, and there was a frenzy of activity at the bureau. I can say that it was thrilling and appalling--but it is quaint in light of what we have going on today. During this time I met the iconic journalists Daniel Shore, and Eric Sevareid  We called Eric the "philosopher with a camera," because he ended his broadcast with little, but profound editorials."

Allik does not consider herself a political artist at this time. Back in 1984 when she lived in Israel, she witnessed the early beginnings of the Intifada. After experiencing the violence in the West Bank, she was more political and her paintings reflected the violence of the time.

Earlier, when she was with her journalist husband on assignment for CBS, she traveled to Moscow. Allik reflected on this dour city, "The whole atmosphere in Moscow was bleak, dark and colorless. The only time you saw color was during the holidays. They then they had red flags all over the place." Allik was introduced to dissident Russian artists by a photographer friend of hers. Often these outside artists were placed in psychiatric hospitals because they didn't fit into the Soviet propaganda scheme.

 Allik told me that during her time in Moscow her apartment was flush with bugs, monitoring  her and her husband's conversations. Mysterious men on trains, and mysterious phone calls in the dead of night, were the rule of thumb. In spite of this  Allik  purchased many paintings, etchings, and drawings from these dissident  artists. Now Allik is selling the work and sending the proceeds to It's quite the irony that work from Russia is providing aid to the Ukraine.

Allik told me that she started working with colors in Ibiza, (an island in the Mediterranean sea) when she and her husband lived there. She told me about a place on the island that she called the "magic valley," where they resided. Before this her paintings were more muted, but there she was taken by the colors, and the beauty of the landscape. After this her paintings had a decidedly different look.

Allik, a graduate of Wellesley College did not formally study art. But she did take workshops at the Carpenter Center at Harvard University and elsewhere. And obviously, this self-trained artist is immensely skilled.

Allick is one of the many talented artists in then Miller St. Studios, and in Somerville-the Paris of New England.

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