Thursday, April 20, 2017

Interview with Artist Alexis Larsen

During my family's recent vacation in Charleston, South Carolina, I visited the Art Mecca of Charleston.  I have visited that gallery numerous times since I discovered it in 2014.  I enjoy its eclectic mix of artists and very reasonable gallery prices.

This year during my visit to the Art Mecca of Charleston I discovered the artwork of Alexis Larsen.  I was drawn to her artwork which features a mix of ethereal atmosphere and line drawings. And I did a double take when I noticed on the descriptor cards that she uses tea as a pigment in her artwork.

Following that gallery visit I contacted Alexis and she graciously agreed to be interviewed for this blog.  Meet Alexis:

You are an artist.  And you use tea in your art making.  Can you talk about how you came to combines these two loves: art and tea? 

I first stumbled upon tea in art in college.  I took a class that explored different mediums of art and we were challenged to come up with 10 different mediums that were not paint.  It is here that I first started exploring the colors and texture that tea has to offer and I fell in love with it.  I have always loved tea and combining my two loves brings me happiness.

Why do you currently devote your life to art making?
 I devote my life to art making because it’s important to me.  I want to follow my dreams and try to become someone that I can be proud of.  I know the art world is difficult but I don’t think my life would be fulfilled if I didn’t try.  I also love art and what it can bring to the world.  It offers the world different perspectives and can help people view things differently, giving us a way to connect to others that we previously didn’t have.  It can bridge gaps and can explain things we find hard to discuss with no words at all.

What do you hope to express through your art making? How does tea play into this expression?
I hope to express my love for nature in my art making.  I think nature is quite beautiful and lovely and I believe we sometimes take it for granted.  I use tea to express this because tea is all natural, its created using leaves and berries that are from nature.  My art with tea expresses the diversity that mother nature offers.  The variety of colors and textures within such a small area is astounding and I love exploring and finding more.  Nature is beautiful and should be explored and appreciated, like art.

 Is there an artist who you consider to be a teacher or mentor? Could you tell us about that relationship and how they have influenced your art making?
I have had many great teachers throughout my schooling but a few have stood out to me.  My painting teacher in college helped me view art from a different perspective by giving me a new outlook on abstract art and making me question what art is.  He also helped me emotionally with the issues an artist encounters and gave me an awareness on how the art world works.    My intermedia teacher taught me that anything can be art and that there is more to the art world than a perfect painting.  He helped me be free with my paintings and allowed me to think outside the box and explore a whole other side of what art is.

Artist's Statement of Alexis Larsen
Nature has always been a big part of my life and has shaped not only my art, but the way I see and experience the world.  Finding beauty in simple things has given me a unique perception of what the world has to offer.  I have fallen in love with the wide range of effects working with tea creates and the controlled chaos it can produce.  The textures and colors in my pieces come from nature and allow me to use them in their rawest form.  The simple beauty of my work is unique, not only in appearance, but also in the creation.  The natural patterns are mesmerizing and provide a different environment that is truly one of a kind.

 My work invites people into a world of different textures and colors, allowing them to explore and find patterns within each piece.  Sometimes I add drawings to my pieces to give more life to the work and make the tea feel like an environment one can relate to.  Other times, I feel that the tea alone creates its own atmosphere and with each piece I allow it to tell me where to go.  I imagine that each painting is like a person in how they have different needs.  Although they each may be made from similar materials, they are all individual and unique.  I invite viewers to get up-close and personal with my pieces to experience the subtle colors and textures that are the true beauty of my work.

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Maira Gall