Briefly describe the work you do.
There is a moment right before falling asleep that reality and imagination are completely indecipherable. I tend to go back and forth between reality and almost dreaming, this state of mind is so interesting to me. It is the same feeling that can come with meditation in its various forms. My drawings are about the melding of reality and the imagined world in our minds. I utilize rendered figures along with abstract patterns and shapes to blend these mindsets together. My work has a lot of negative space giving my figures a quiet aloneness for introspection.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
I have lived in Southern California my whole life, I love spending time outside- camping, hiking, bike riding, laying out at the beach. There is a definite influence of nature in my work. A lot of the figures I use are referenced from people at the beach where there is a simple kind of freedom that comes from laying in the sand doing almost nothing and being completely satisfied.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
My studio is a section of my apartment. I do my drawing on a drafting table which is the greatest thing I found being thrown away. I spend several hours a day working on art things, usually it is physically working on drawings or sketches but somedays it is sifting through old photos, reading art magazines, or computer work such as statements, archiving work, etc. I suppose thats all basically a standard notion of an artists studio beside the fact that I also live with my work 5 feet from my bed. It can get a little distracting having access to all my things at once but I generally enjoy that I can bounce around from task to task without much effort. Plus my fiancé works from home so I always have a break buddy!
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
I think starting out as an artist all I wanted to do was the sexy part- working in my studio whenever I wanted until the wee hours of the night making creative, glorious work. The reality is that being an artists is like running your own small business. There is a lot more logistical work than most people think. I also never thought I would work a regular schedule but having specific hours set aside for art making has really helped my practice.
When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?
I set aside several hours in the afternoon for making art. I try to treat it like any other job and stick to it as much as possible. If I decide I just can’t work in those hours a specific day I trade off for another time during the week. More often I have the opposite problem and want to continue to work- at this point I remind myself to treat it like a job and try to have a balanced life.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
I graduated with my BFA 3 years ago. While I was in school I made large mostly abstract paintings, then I graduated and had to find a space to put all of them. So I decided to try to work small which was actually the point I transitioned from painting to drawing and felt like my work gained a lot of clarity. My large thick abstract marks were traded for small clean abstract patterns I currently use in my work. I have also put more constraints on myself as far as materials and a visual repertoire which is actually liberating. Making some rules for my own work has be quite helpful.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
I worked as a studio assistant for Mindy Shapero for about a year, in one conversation she mentioned that she liked work that was silly in some way. I had been drawn to work that had a lightness but I was surrounded by other artists whose work was so heavy in emotional or political tone I felt inadequate if my work was about something fun or silly. Hearing a successful professional artist appreciate this about artwork gave me confidence that this aspect in art is valid. Which freed me to embrace fun in own art.
Some artists that have influenced me are Kiki Smith, James Jean, Alice Neel, Mark Ryden, Frida Kahlo, and Nathan Oliveira.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
I can’t see myself pursuing any other career. When I started college I intended to work towards graphic design or something that was more of a regular job in the arts but it was clear early on that I was a fine artist. It’s a gut feeling that can’t be ignored. I have taught some kids art classes and really enjoy teaching.
My other interests include traveling, cooking, anything with animals, and I have been teaching myself ukulele.
Stacey Alexander is a fine artists living in Los Angeles, Ca. She has a Bachelors of Fine Arts in drawing and painting from Cal State University Fullerton. Her work has been shown in various galleries in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego and Seattle.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.