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Alison Jones

  • Date: 7 September 2009
  • Artform: Visual arts
  • Area: North

Artist Alison Jones has developed a reputation for powerfully interactive artwork, using natural materials to challenge our perception of the world.

Jones, whose work has exhibited alongside Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor and Cathy de Moncheaux, specialises in large, multisensory installations like Hum, an entire room painted with honey.

‘Not only did it look interesting, I was also aware of the smell. When you first put it up it’s quite sweet and there’s an overload of sickly comfort food but as it stays up it goes off and starts to smell like urine. One person said it reminds him of getting old, so it’s what people bring to it.’

Alison found the way her work was perceived changed dramatically when it was reported in the press that she was visually impaired, following Something Rendered, a piece that involved the public interacting with a large block of marzipan at Walsall Museum and Art Gallery.

‘I’d exhibited for six or seven years without people knowing, but because this was a tactile piece and I started working with smell, it became more of a story. If you say you’re a disabled artist the press will concentrate on that rather than the work. It’s just another angle. I am happy with my identity as a disabled artist, maybe because I’ve already worked and had success in the mainstream.’

Alison received managed funds grants from Arts Council England, North West of £5,000 for Arts, Lies and Videotapes and £4,937 for Silent Rhythm, a cross-artform collaboration with dancer Denise Armstrong and writer Kate O’Reilly.

She also works as Arts Manager at the North West Disability Arts forum, where she has worked to publicise projects led by and for disabled people, and has been commissioned by Tate Liverpool to create a piece involving smell, making their education resources more multisensory.