Every now and again I find an artist whose work resounds so strongly in my soul that I can't paint or draw for days. I don't understand why this happens to me. Maybe it's because I'm basking in the amazing awesomeness of their work, and I can't quite figure out how I will ever draw or paint something satisfactory again. In any case, I like having these slightly weird yet wholly consuming experiences. My brain is filled with their work for days on end! I'm like a crazy maniac, heehee. Once again, thanks to ever-vigilant Supersonic Electronic for the reminder of today's featured artist.
My recent obsession is Canadian artist Alexandra Levasseur. I am crazy about the raw energy, sketchy quality, funky shapes, and use of negative space in her paintings of girls. Oh, the bright colors! Oh, the way the floral patterns are absorbed seamlessly into the figures! The super-contemporary scrawl of shapes and letters! You should read about her drawing a day project and the interesting meaning behind these glum-looking ladies. I also identify with the theme, since lethargy and dull moods are often an obstacle I have to overcome, as well. Though I have nothing like her excuse of a frigid Canadian winter ^^
Alexandra sells prints and originals of many of the paintings you see on her site. Add her Etsy shop to your favorites, on the pronto. I command it!
Check out my interview with sweet Alexandra below.
J: Your style is a super unique mixture of detail and rough, sketchy style. How did you develop it? Have you always painted like this?
A: I don't really know HOW I did develop it.... I think it is just my natural way of creating images: half well planned, half spontaneous and emotional. This "style itself" certainly strengthens the concepts of contradiction and bipolarity that are always present in my work. I didn't always paint like this, I have been experimenting throughout the years and I am still!
J: I see that you are Canadian but studied in Costa Rica and Spain. Why did you decide to go there? What influence did these countries have on your style?
A: I left Canada at the age of 18, to do a one-year student exchange to learn spanish in Costa Rica: I've always been attracted to latin-american countries. I eventually decided to stay there to study a B.A. in Fine Arts / Graphic Design. After that, I went to Barcelona to specialize my career by completing a postgraduate in Illustration.
Ten years of tropical climate and wild nature of Costa Rica versus hard cold seasons of Canada and all the differences between some cultural aspects do influence my work on a daily basis.... for sure! I think it may have influenced more my themes and ideas than my style. Barcelona was indeed very inspirational for being a city full of art/artists.
J: Your "one drawing a day" project is amazing and your ideas seem endless. What inspires you to keep thinking of fresh imagery for your work?
A: My "one drawing a day" project kind of turned into "3 drawings a week" project because I started to add more and more details and plan better each one, etc.... But still it is a spontaneous and everyday work.
My starting point for each piece is always the mood of the moment: the emotion i want to communicate either through the eyes of my characters, their face or the body language. I always try to find the way to link it with the weather conditions of the day/week and try to add some content that will tell a little story to the viewer. My work is very personal, it reflects childhood memories and nostalgia, love, lonelyness, etc.... And I'm obsessed with floral textiles, wall papers, fabrics of any kind....... ! As a part of my process I take a lot of photographs to use as references and I cut out magazine parts or images found on the internet, make a big collage out of this to put together my ideas and then draw it on paper.
In part II, you'll be able to hear a little more from Alexandra and see some exclusive, super-special work-in-progress pics from the artist herself! Until next time, <3 JUURI