Why An Artist?
Allison Billings: I have always pursued art, but it is funny, I don’t like the term artist- I tend to resist using it. I prefer names like painter or something that is more attached to the process or the making.
In the bigger picture I consider myself more of a maker; I’m very attached to the maker community across Canada. But for me as an artist, I think most people convince themselves out of being an artist, I think it is easy to chose to be an artist. I was privileged enough that my great-grandmother and grandmother were painters, my great-grandfather on one side was an editor/publisher and on the other side there was an English teacher. It permeated everything in our family life – you used words or images, it was something to do and was encouraged.
We were never encouraged to do practical things. And although my mother is not an artistic person I think it is actually due to her that I became an artist because my mom’s way of showing love is to provide for people. She was an occupational therapist who was very passionate about her vocation. That really underlined that what you did with your days must be done with purpose.
I was always encouraged to be an artist in the sense that there is always value in applying discipline to your work. And to create something that is aligned with your personal worth. Between the two of us, I’m the idea person and Josh is the engineer. He’s, “Ok that’s how we’re going to make it happen”.
Rogue Goat was the result of me having an idea and Josh saying, “well I have a saw and some wood, let’s try this” and the concept evolved from there. He tends to back away from the idea that he’s an artist, but Rogue Goat wouldn’t be possible without what he makes.
Rogue Goat is a collaboration between Josh Hill and Allison Billings, marrying scroll saw craftsmanship with original acrylic paintings. Josh Hill is a self taught woodworker, Rogue Goat poster boy, primary booth occupant, proud father, gardener, tinkerer, adored by all cats and chickens. Josh used to be a Goth, once won a pig wrestling contest and his favourite member of Guns N Roses is Duff.
Allison Billings studied fine art and creative writing and equally loves images and words. Allison loves books, sweater weather, furry things, making lists, big ideas, backpacking alone in Scotland and has never wrestled a pig.
Words and photos by Willy Waterton