Monday, March 5, 2012

Interview with the artist: Anastasia Alexandrin

Anastasia Alexandrin is an amazingly talented artist...and we are going to have her newest work in our Northern Liberties shop!!  Her pieces will be on display through the Spring- but don't miss out on the opening party!  (in the Northern Liberties store THIS Friday, 3/9/12 from 4-9pm!!!)  And meet this lovely lady!
I asked Anastasia a few questions about her background, process, and creative style.  Gain insight into this intriguing artist's mind.  Step into her world...

1.  Tell us a little bit about your schooling/ art classes growing up/ etc.  Have you always been an artist?
Since I can remember, I have always been an artist. Even in Ukraine when I was very young I was already going to art school, learning how to play with watercolors, and draw. I always wanted to draw and paint more than anything else and was fortunate to have parents who allowed me to do just that.

2. You have used some color in the past, but your more recent work is litho, charcoal, or graphite. What draws you to black and white?
There is something so beautiful about black and white to me - something raw. I can ‘say’ a lot more with just black and white than with color. For me, it is more honest and to the point. Color is very personal - everyone colors their own world the way they want to. My art is a blank slate for individual color - I want people to bring their own color into my pieces. I see endless possibilities with charcoal; colors have to compliment each other -  black and white, just is.

3.  You have said that you draw every day experiences, but your pieces are also quite dream-like.  Can you give us more insight into your inspiration and initial process?
Everyday experiences ARE dreamlike and surreal because every person has his/her own unique perspective of each moment. I use interpretative symbols to express these experiences, which makes them feel dream-like, yet, they are normal to me. Every drawing starts with an emotion and a complex feeling. Not just "happy" or "sad", but all the feelings in-between that do not have specific words to define them. I find that for me words fall short for defining emotions, in particular those that I translate into images directly. Perhaps, that is why they are so difficult to explain.

I start with a gut feeling and then the images just flow and I try to have that feeling permeate through my drawing to the viewer. I want people to feel my art, not think. Just feel and derive from the image any experience they can and want to.

4.  Do you listen to music as you work?  What would we find on your current play list?
Yes! I love to listen to music while I work. You will find me listening to a variety of artists. To name a few: Ani Difranco, Gotye, William Fitzsimmons, Portishead, Paradise Circus.

5.  Do you work from imagination?  Do you use live models?
I work first from my imagination sketching in my sketchbook and then search for imagery that could fit (as a model) from a wide array of sources such as books, magazines, and the internet. I don't use live models.

6.  I am a huge fan of Art Nouveau style motifs and other seems like you are too!  Why do you choose to incorporate pattern and line into your pieces?
Yes, I love Art Nouveau. The patterns have so much feeling and emotion in them. I like to create my own, that are inspired from that time. I also find them to be so unapologetically beautiful. I love the beautiful things in life and want to bring as much of it into my art. I stick to sharing the beautiful, inspiring and strong things in life.

7.  If you weren't an artist, what else would you be doing?
I just wouldn't be...

8.  Are you originally from Philadelphia?  If not, what brought you here and what do you love about the city?  Any fave music, food, or shopping spots you have to share??
I was born in Karkov, Ukraine. My family and I came to Philadelphia when I was 5. After traveling around in my early 20s I came back here. It feels like home. I create best here. There is something beautiful about the city with all of its ebbs and flows, its seasons, its own feelings and vibes. It’s fun; you meet great people and it is real. I also love all the little fun places you can find - like finding little jewels in the most obscure random places. One of my favorite places is the Museum, and Northern Liberties fascinates me at every corner. Did you know there is a log cabin in our city? There is one in northern liberties. I just love the unexpected finds in Philly.

9.  Favorite...
Color? New Mexico sky blue
Season? Fall. I love the colors changing and the crisp air after a sweltering hot Philly summer.
Item of clothing that you own?  I have a North Face hat that I got 7 years ago that I bedazzle with sparkly pins and flowers. I live in it every winter. I can't imagine ever getting rid of it.
Food? hmm.... that’s tough. There are just too many!
Travel destination? The east - I'm fascinated by what is on the other side of this world. The rooftop of the world, Tibet, has been on my radar for some time now. I hope to finally get there in July.

Thanks Anastasia!!  We all look forward to seeing you and your beautiful work on Friday! 


Persona, New works by Anastasia Alexandrin, will be on display in our Northern Liberties shop starting later this week.  
*All above images can be found at Miss Alexandrin's website.

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