By Alexis Convento, April 2015
When she's not busy with her day job as Creative Design Director of DETAILS Content Studio, Alison Matheny is wearing many hats with BEST, an independent journal centered around visual commentary and conversation through different themes (past perspectives explored feminism, loneliness, power, sexuality, relaxation, negative space, and skin). Contributions are made by all types of artists: photographers, writers, illustrators, poets and painters.
In Alison's words, "creating and cultivating BEST has been such a fantastic project for my personal growth, and I feel very lucky to be able to share it." And we're lucky to share Alison's newest photography series, "Vista Point," currently on view at Sky Gallery, with a closing party this upcoming Sunday, April 5. Let's learn about Alison's habits, outlook on life and butts in this edition of On View.
Your style in 5 words or less.
Urban hippie grandma resortwear prep.
What do you do exactly?
I am the founder-subject-designer-talent outreach-photographer-business manager of BEST (phew). I'm also the Creative Design Director for the DETAILS Content Studio at Condé Nast.
Any fun tidbits about yourself?
In my spare time I like to nap, talk to my dog and eat salty foods. I’m a Virgo, so habits that have served me are making lists, being stubborn, early dinner times and early bedtimes. Some indulgent habits include ordering a third bloody mary, not going to the grocery store or doing laundry on Sunday and luxury exercise classes.
What exactly is BEST? Why decide to gather all these creatives into one space/zine?
BEST is a creative collective culminating in a print publication twice a year (Spring/Summer and Winter). It’s a place for creatives like myself to explore other types of challenging themes outside of the day job. It’s an opportunity to have a conversation around emotions that grow bigger as you get older, and also to look at butts.
Yeah, about that. What's the deal with BEST and butts?
There's no specific connection to BEST and butts. There seemed to be a lot of good butt photo opps on the Pacific Coast Highway, but that could also be due to the subjects shot. Boobs and butts are easy to photograph, and for whatever reason, pretty accepted in society to look at. No spoilers, but I might try to push those boundaries a little bit in the Winter '15 issue. Other than that I guess I just like butts - most of the time they're pretty cute.
How do you meet the artists that you feature in the BEST zine?
I meet people to feature in BEST all kinds of ways — a lot I have had the opportunity to work with professionally, a lot I have emailed randomly as a fan of their work. Some, luckily, have contacted me.
Why the word BEST?
My best friend actually deserves credit for ideating the name BEST — it was the nickname of my deceased childhood cat.
Tell us about Vista Point. What were your influences for this particular series?
Vista Point is a series of photos shot by myself and my BEST collaborators, Lela Maloney and Attie James, of our road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway. This trip spawned from reading A Field Guide to Getting Lost — taking concepts from that and deriving meditation journals we each filled out along our trip. I’m going to take these journals, our photos, and poems by Annie Georgia Greenberg, and use them in a mind map for BEST’s Winter Edition. The selection I chose to display in the Vista Point show at Sky Gallery is based off the trip’s themes of loss, distance, freedom and where the horizon meets the ocean.
Vista Print is now on view at Sky Gallery Wednesday, April 1st to Friday, April 3rd from 12pm to 2pm. A Closing Viewing Party with the Girls of BEST will take place on Sunday, April 5th from 11am to 2pm, sponsored by Blue Bottle Coffee. Each image from the Vista Point series can be purchased online in a 4x6 spec and framed.
Join Alison on Instagram and Twitter. Make sure to find BEST on Instagram and Twitter too! Check out moments of the Pop-Up by checking out #vistapointpopup.