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Alison Jackson

  • English artist
  • Born May 15, 1960

Alison Jackson (born 15 May 1970) is a British artist who explores celebrity culture as created by the media and publicity industries. Jackson makes works about celebrities doing things in private by using lookalike models. Jackson comments on the public's voyeurism, the power and seductive nature of imagery, and on viewers' need to believe. Jackson's interest in the Royal Family has resulted in her making photographs of a look-alike of the Queen on the loo or changing royal nappies, and other look-alikes posing as Prince Charles and Camilla, and others in the family.


If you see everything through the lens, you are constantly composing pictures. I think in pictures; I don't think in text.




I think privacy is important, and it's important you don't bore people with your own boring self.




Career-wise, I feel very lucky to have always been able to follow my creative path.




You can't rely on your own perception when it comes to anything. You can always be proved wrong.




Because Bin Laden's culture doesn't permit the worship of images, they understand how powerful images are. We wouldn't have thought of creating a visual bomb. In a way, he's chopped down two iconic buildings, and used our very truth imagery, to express himself. It's fascinating... I mean, dreadful.




Art work is inconclusive. It opens your mind up. At least, that's what I hope it does. And advertising, using exactly the same photograph, closes things down. It makes it conclusive. It sells a product, and that is its primary function.




I am very pro-royal. Britain without them would be a sadder place.




When I am preparing my 'lookalike' photographs, I think about the character of the real people, because, if the photographs are going to be plausible, you have to convince the viewer that they could have happened.




It's always fun to put fake celebrities in unlikely situations, but somehow it's even more fun when politicians are involved.




I'm not really interested in the celebrity themselves. I'm interested in the perception of the celebrity.




Photography seduces us into thinking we can believe photographs, whereas we can't really believe that a picture can tell us any kind of truth at all.




A lot of people who look at my photographs think it is an easy joke, but it does take a bit of thinking about.




Photography acts as a teaser, suggesting we can know something that we can never know. And the more we can't obtain it, the more we want it.




Warhol was the ultimate voyeur, constantly observing people through the lens. He watched and listened, but did not participate. Behind the camera, Warhol was in control.




Finding the perfect lookalike to work with is crucial and a lengthy process. We have our regulars, but we also use social media all the time to find people. It's amazing who you can unearth on Twitter.




I am fascinated by the Royal Family because they are shrouded in mystique, and the Queen, and to a certain extent William, represent fabulous blank canvases. I find the Prince of Wales less fascinating because he spills the beans and we know too much about him.




I'm particularly interested in how you can't rely on your own perception.




I suppose we carry photographs now, but I think it's rather wonderful that people used to carry drawings and watercolours. I wish people did that more often.




Among other things, I use a Samsung mobile phone, a very bad quality video camera, and an old Olympus with extremely bad Sigma lenses.




Of course, my own political beliefs inform the ideas I come up with.




I'm not satirical in a traditional way. What I do is more about creating caricatures and cartoons. I am commentating on the nature of how we live through photography, and how you can twist an angle to create a different perception of a person.




I don't really like using ridicule as a form of humor.




Now celebrity has taken on a holy status all of its own, and we look to the stars to provide us with the transcendental experience that was once achieved through religion.




I'm a contemporary artist and I show in art galleries and museums. I show a number of photographs and films, but I also make television programs, books and some appetizing, all with the same concept.




I had a very outdoorsy childhood. I was athletic and used to ride and do dressage. I could ride almost before I could walk. There is a picture of me at 18 months old sitting happily on the back of a donkey.




The religious imagery and fairytales that formed our shared cultural references have been replaced by the cult of celebrity. Marilyn is the sex goddess, Camilla Parker Bowles is cast as the wicked witch, Che Guevara is the revolutionary. Celebrities have become visual shorthand for narratives that shape our lives.




You can watch a little bit of war from your nice living room - 30 seconds of what's going on in Syria - and when you've had enough, switch over to some celebrity programme. We live our life through screens and images in this way, and we don't know what is real or fake anymore. It doesn't matter.




Photography can be a deceitful, superficial medium that leads us into believing something even though we know it's not necessarily true. It lulls us into a false sense of complacency.




There is a wall of myth around royals and A-list celebrities, and that makes us wonder what they are really like. We see them on magazine covers so often that we think we know them intimately, and we want to learn more. I like to burst that bubble a little.




I'm really interested in how we view the public figure, what makes a public figure, what makes a celebrity, and how images make politicians, so I take an interest in politics, but it's really an interest in the image.




When Princess Diana died, I couldn't understand why people were mourning her death in such an enormous, hysterical way when they didn't actually know her for real.




I think my parents had in mind that I would settle down at quite a young age, but I decided that being a housewife in a big country house wasn't for me. I wanted to leave the country, head for London and see what the world had to offer.




The only people I really hate are parking attendants.




Celebrities do look different in real life from our images of them - there is a big gap. And that is what my work is about: the gap between the image and the celebrity themselves.




I can't remember exactly how old I was when my parents gave me my first camera, but it was a Canon, and I was certainly far too young to have such a good camera.




I'd like to take more pictures of real celebrities. It would be fabulous to photograph Brad Pitt. He's so good-looking and just such a star.



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