In one of the most image-focused cities in the US, visual artist and jewelry designer Allie Pohl makes meaning out of the stigmas surrounding “the ideal woman.” With an MFA from the University of Denver and celebrity clientele including Sophia Bush and Rosario Dawson, Pohl is certainly onto something.
Favorite cafe in your neighborhood?
Flake on Rose
Where is your office?
How do you get there?
Walk or bike
Where did the idea for the ideal woman come from?
I have always been interested in why we follow certain cultural trends. For example, the concept of body hair and hair removal; we remove hair from certain parts of our body but add it to others. As a way to respond to this cultural phenomenon, I created a series of sculptures by dissecting a My Size Barbie as a metaphor for the “ideal woman.” After dissecting it, I placed Chia seeds on areas where our society removes unwanted hair: pubic, armpit, and leg. As the Chia grew, the sculptures transformed from prepubescent into womanhood. During this project, I found myself captivated by the shape of the midsection and started to explore different ways to appropriate the shape and what it really represented.
Did you play with Barbies when you were little?
How does your work with the ideal woman affect your viewpoint on the beauty and fashion industry?
I think the beauty and fashion industry present commercially packaged versions of beauty that are often simply illusions created by technology.
What is your favorite medium to work with?
I love so many! Porcelain and video are my favorite to work with at the moment. The resin/chrome sculptures might be my favorite to look at.
How does having a MFA affected you as an artist and your career?
I just kept going to school. I went from a liberal arts college (Hamilton College), to Parsons for Graphic Design, to the University of Denver where I received my MFA in Electronic Media Arts. My MFA show was reviewed and ended up on the front page of the arts section in the Denver Post. From that I was signed by Plus Gallery and booked a solo show there. I think having an MFA or going through the process of getting an MFA really help build my career, but everyone has very different paths. An MFA just happened to be a big part of mine.
How does being in LA affect your work?
I think LA is a place where looks are EXTREMELY important and superficiality is rampant. I am really interested in contemporary culture and how individuals alter themselves to fit into the ideal or create a new ideal. Los Angeles is a huge sprawling diverse city, I find it very inspiring. My most recent work, Peacocking, was heavily influenced by Tinder, which is a Los Angeles-based startup.
Would you categorize yourself as an artist or a designer?
I am an artist while also being a designer. I do not think creative individuals are really one thing any more.
Your favorite artist(s)?
Barbara Kruger, Sophie Calle, Cindy Sherman, Sarah Lucas, and Tracey Emin.
Last museum you’ve been to?
What the best advice you’ve received?
A galloping horse is not bothered by pesky flies.
What’s next for you?
I am currently working on a new body of work about parent-children relationships. If you are interested in participating please email me at email@example.com! I am also working on Ideal Woman earrings. I am really excited about them.