Fullerton is a contemporary portrait artist working in encaustic, an ancient medium using beeswax fused with heat. She paints by layering and scraping molten wax to reveal her subject physically and emotionally. Wax dries quickly, so she paints fast and spontaneously. Her colorful, tactile portraits have a unique luminosity and depth.
Living and traveling in Europe from 2016-2019, Alison observed and sketched people during her travels. Returning to her studio in Germany, she began slathering the sketches in wax. She found that wax mimics flesh, giving skin a chromatic richness that is impossible to create in other mediums. Fullerton began finding ways to work the wax in a more painterly fashion. While most artists blend colors on the palette, Fullerton blends skintones by layering wax, alternating opacity and transparency, and by fusing with a torch or an iron.
Fullerton’s portrait work is built around visual anthropology narratives about different cultures and people, which started when she lived in Germany from 2016-2019, and traveled. “Anthropologists collect photos. I paint what I observe.”
Fullerton has exhibited throughout the US and Europe, has work in university and museum collections including Vanderbilt University, and has authored articles about encaustic wax. Her work was on the cover of Wax Fusion magazine. Fullerton lives and works in Nashville.
My portrait work is almost always in a series. I call these Visual Anthropologies.
I have always been curious about culture & anthropology. My career in consumer marketing & research frequently took an anthropological approach. We conducted ‘ethnographies,’ observing people and how they lived. By 2016 I was fortunate to move to Europe where I studied different cultures and began painting. I am fascinated by how well cultures remain preserved, country to country in Europe. Hop a border, and people are suddenly different.
Returning to America in 2019 I began studying about Native Women Warriors- the untold stories. Euro-American culture perpetuates a fictional “princess” stereotype of native women, yet many women fought lockstep with men and became highly respected leaders. Native Women Warriors was my first 'American' anthropology.
Visual Anthropologies (portrait series work):
World Healers- eastern, African, and western medical healers
Native Women Warriors- historically accurate portraits of native women who fought for their tribes
Vetted Souls- faces of homeless US military veterans
Irish Eyes- street portraits from Ireland
Into the Wilderness- reflections during the COVID pandemic
Delta Blues- Mississippi blues artists who performed in juke joints and had little commercial success, but greatly influenced American Blues music
Ordinary Environmentalists- everyday folks working to make change environmentally
The Outsiders- portraits of visionary self taught artists, creating outside of art world norms
2021 Vanderbilt University Women's Center- two commissioned portraits in their permanent collection
2021 "Metamorphosis" National Juried Exhibition, Tubac Center of the Arts, AZ. Jurors Sue Stover, Lisa Pressman
2021 1st Place and Honorable Mention, 2021 Regional Juried Art Exhibition, DAC Gallery, Clarksville TN, Juried by Frank Gee.
2021 “Wax Narratives" Solo Exhibition, J Galleries, Nashville TN
2020 Art appeared on10 Nashville Billboards thru ArtPOP Street Gallery, Nashville, TN
2020 "Vignettes in Wax and Words" international exhibition, International Encaustic Artists (juried) Curated by Lora Murphy