Visual Anthropologies

My work is built around visual anthropology narratives through portraiture.

Each narrative is a study of a culture or a group of people, and is meant to stimulate reflection. Anthropologists collect photos. I express what I observe through my paintings.


My interest in anthropology began while working in consumer marketing. Consumer research began taking an anthropological approach around 2004-2005. We conducted ‘ethnographies,’ observing people and how they lived. I worked for Mars Petcare, maker of Pedigree and Whiskas, and ethnographic studies gave us insight on consumer relationships with their pets.

In 2016 I moved to Germany, and lived there for three years. While traveling, I became fascinated with the diversity of cultures and how well they remain preserved, country to country. Hop a border, and people are suddenly different. From the colorful Catalan dancers in Barcelona, the ‘smiling eyes’ of the ever-friendly Irish, and the weathered faces of Greek fisherman in remote Peloponnese villages, I sketched and painted the people I met while traveling Europe. 

Upon moving back to the US in 2019, I researched indigenous Americans and discovered the untold stories of women warriors. Euro-American culture perpetuates a fictional “princess” stereotype of native women, yet many fought lockstep with men and became highly respected leaders. Native Women Warriors, and their stories of resilience, was my first American anthropology. My newest narratives are my Civil Rights protest singers from the 1960-1970’s, in response to the current Black Lives Matter movement.

Some of my Visual Anthropology Narratives:

  • Protest Singers 

  • 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 

  • I am Danish- portraits of Muslim youth in Denmark

  • 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

Alison Fullerton Art - Nashville, TN
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