Alison Jackson is a BAFTA award-winning artist and filmmaker. She also lives in Chelsea and is a councillor. Words by Charlotte Pasha.
Next time you see a photo of the Queen, or Elton John, or Donald Trump and Melania, look twice.
It may just be one of Alison Jackson’s creations. The artist has become famous for her lookalike celebrity photos.
“I’m interested in the fact that we can’t tell what’s real or fake anymore.”
She says: “We live in this manufactured media bubble we can’t really get out of.”
“That’s what my work is about. There’s a very serious undertone, but it’s all entertainment. My work is multi-layered.
“The surface is humans, or entertainment, but actually the deep questioning is about what a scary world it is.
“Imagery is our first language, and through imagery we can’t tell what’s real or fake. Photography is a deceitful medium by its very nature,” she adds.
Alison is also concerned about the younger generation.
“We’re constantly swiping and drinking a pint of coffee,” she says.
“I’m writing a film at the moment called Swipe, sort of about our world of rubbish. I’m upset for the 14- and 15-year-olds. I think they need guidance.
“I just want to say, ‘Sit down, read a book, focus!’ There should be focus lessons.”
Photography and education
One thing Alison herself has focused on recently is the A Day in Your Life photography competition.
“I thought how nice it would be to try and discover new talent in this borough. I have lived and worked here since I was 16 and I was totally educated here,” she says.
She went to various local art institutions and asked them to donate courses and mentorships as prizes – and they did.
“It was extraordinary,” she says.
The quality of the entries was amazing, she says, with the winning photographs, displayed at the Saatchi Gallery.
But what she really wants is to put them on bus stops for all to see.
Working for kids
As councillor for Chelsea Riverside since May 2018, Alison wants to help young people.
“I love the borough and London and I love young kids. I want to make sure they have the best time they can possibly have.
“You don’t know what the world has to offer unless you look for it,” she says.
Alison, who works from studios on Lots Road, loves the area.
“I love the architecture, the terraces, the secret hidden gardens. I so appreciate the design and aesthetic.
“I love sitting outside Colbert and The Ivy, I love Gail’s and Pavilion Road is great,” she says.
And busy doesn’t even begin to describe Alison.
“Sky is following me on my work about Donald Trump, for a documentary to hopefully air later this year, and I am working on shows in Vienna, Berlin and Shanghai for later this year.
“Plus, I have a one-woman theatre show that’s just come off that I may put on for next March. And amidst all of this, I hope to have a little bit of a holiday!”