The Art Connoisseur: Allison Asis
"I love art because it has no boundaries."
Allison Asis is a Toronto-based founder and designer of Cadette Jewelry. I met Ally a few years ago through work. I was in charge of buying in my role and serendipity crossed our paths. Ally's talents are hard to describe in a paragraph. Her work speaks for itself– every piece is designed and made with so much intention and love. The quality that she brings to every little detail is something to aspire to. In addition, Ally has the most sincere relationship to community. One of her newer pursuits is Cadette Studio which is an initiative to bring creatives together for gatherings and events that focus on cultivating support and community. I was in attendance at the last one before lockdown hosted at the beautiful Sol Atelier - the memory of that evening has kept me sustained through the loneliness of quarantine. Ally has a very specific and keen eye for art; she often sites her influences from history as well as living contemporary artists and has a beautiful way of talking about art.
Here's is Allison in her own words...
I’m Allison Asis, Toronto-based founder of Cadette Jewelry, as well as a digital marketing specialist. Generally speaking, I’m also a deeply passionate being of beautiful art and design, creating things with my two hands, and nurturing meaningful relationships with the special individuals in my life.
On Personal Aesthetic
My aesthetic is a mix of various experiences, influences and inspirations – the journey of womanhood, places I’ve traveled to, cultures I’ve learned from, art and design that has resonated with me, nature that surrounds my home, and so on.
I’m a minimalist at heart. My continuous goal is to be surrounded by a very curated selection of meaningful items that serve a true purpose in my life. From the bits of kitchenware in my home, to my minimal, on-rotation daily apparel – and of course, to my design process when creating pieces for Cadette Jewelry; I am always focused (and a little obsessed) on what pieces are sincerely worth having, wearing, or using.
On Being an Art Kid
I recognized I had a creative spirit as soon as I could pick up a pencil. I was known as the ‘artsy’ child in the family, obsessed with drawing anything and everything from people, to animals, to landscapes, and more. This continued to evolve as I tried my hand at paint, sculpture, sewing – you name it. And in university, one of my majors was Art History, where I delved deeper into the world of art and gained a deeper understanding of various movements, eras, artists and more.
Both fine and contemporary art continues to be an essential part of my everyday life and creative processes. When designing each piece for Cadette Jewelry, I’m constantly turning to my greatest [art] role models for a *spark* that guides me in a certain direction, or inspires a way of thinking. Some of those inspirational figures include: Isamu Noguchi, Jean Arp, Barbara Hepworth, Georgia O’Keeffe, Tadao Ando and more.
(left to right: Barbara Hepworth, Georgia O'Keefe, Isamu Noguchi, Jean Arp)
The collaborations I’ve done recently have been some of my most cherished experiences and projects to-date. Two that immediately come to mind are: the ‘Better Together’ collection with artist Melody Hansen, and a collaborative set of ceramics with the Toronto-based Common Goods Studio.
These collaborations have been completely organic – first and foremost, they’ve started with the foundation of our values, aesthetics, and approaches to creating, being genuinely aligned. I reached out to each of these talented artists with the beginnings of an idea and was so grateful that both were immediately on board, and together, brought the ideas to fruition.
It’s been incredible to see what is created when two parties, each with unique talents, join forces to create something truly special.
Art in all its shapes and forms, brings me true joy, ideas and inspiration, conversations, and new or different ways of looking at and understanding the world within and around me.
My first piece ever purchased was Warped Wood by Oksana Berda in 2017. I’d always admired art from ‘afar’ – in school textbooks, on television, online. So it was incredibly exciting for me when I finally took the leap to invest in a special piece that was not only beautiful and something I felt a connection with, but created by a dear friend, Oksana – making it all the more meaningful in my home.
I remember the day I chose the piece very clearly. Oksana and I met one evening at the Toronto Reference Library. She kindly laid out the numerous Warped Wood variations on one of the stages, so I could observe each one carefully. And soon enough, I knew which one was mine. It can’t always be described – that which draws you to a particular piece of art – for me, it was and is an internal and intuitive feeling.
If you recognize that art brings you joy (referring to visual art, specifically) – it may likely be a sign to dip your toes in, a little more, and at your own pace. Since we’re in a very digitally-centric era, something as seamless as exploring Pinterest (one of my favourite social media platforms!) and creating ‘boards’ with work that you’re drawn to, will help you discover the kinds of pieces you have a connection with. Additionally, searching for documentaries, videos, articles, and more on artists or art styles that peak your interest will provide you with so much information and insight that will help you gain a deeper understanding over time. It’s incredibly how much information is readily available at our fingertips!
Ways to Engage despite Budget
Money and finances are certainly a sensitive subject for me – I must admit I do have the underlying fear of some way, some how, some day perhaps running low or being in a fearful situation. Which is also why I have my minimalist mentality and the key focus of ‘buy less, choose well.’ I’m very selective and careful with my purchases and investments.
We are so incredibly fortunate to live in an era where there are alternate ways of accessing, and surrounding ourselves with art that we love. Whether it’s gradually saving up to invest in an artist’s work that you love, to physically display in your home, to visiting a local library and indulging in art books, to searching online for digital archives of art throughout history – I believe that investing in, accessing, and enjoying art really is a multi-faceted approach in this modern era. One that is very forgiving with those on a budget.
going for a run outside with my partner, Jay. We run by the water, trees, open air and sun – and it’s one of the best feelings that I’ve come to crave, every day. Whilst running I’m more conscious than ever of how blessed we are to have the abundant nature that the Earth provides us with.