My name is Alexandra Valenti, born in Washington. I live in Austin, Texas. Take your time. Allow yourself to experiment. Try new methods. The “mistakes” can be your doorway to flow and inspiration.
PIECE WITH ARTIST
MARCH 10, 2021. AUSTIN, TEXAS. USA.
Tell us your story, how did you come to painting?
Painting was never my first medium of choice. Photography has always been my default passion and how I paid the bills. I never felt confidant enough to express myself through paint. However, I've always made art, drawings and small pieces. It wasn’t until I moved into a large studio 4 years ago, when I realized the potential of the space. So I went from making small drawings to large scale works. Because commercial photography took up so much of my time, painting happened on the weekend or after hours.
Over the years, I've participated in group shows and finally had a solo show in 2018 that sparked a massive pivot in my artistic career. I always knew at some point I would just focus on fine art, that was my end game. But then Covid happened. And that plan arrived about 10 years earlier than I expected… I still shoot jobs but it has to be worth it to take me away from studio.
How would you define your current painting?
I’ve been calling it Primitive Color Field with some figuration and abstraction thrown in.
The current series is based on ancient female stone idols.
Tell us about your style and technique. Any secret that can be told?
I've been working with acrylics on linen lately. I’m still learning and experimenting. Ripping things up, painting over old paintings, and being open to whatever feels authentic to the piece. I don’t have any secrets other than I finally learned not to drink too much coffee before I paint because a shakey hand does not do me any creative favors. And the other thing I have learned is to step away from a piece if it’s not working and allow the “answers” to come.
How do you usually start your paintings? With a sketch, a draft or is it just an improvisation?
I usually start with rough sketches. I have those small black sketch books that I carry around with me. I also recently discovered working on an iPad. I’ll start a painting, take a photo of it, import it into my iPad so I can work on it when I go home. Since the paintings are quite large, it’s been saving me time ( and paint) to work through any blocks I might have. Then go back into the studio the next day to rework the canvas.
What are your motivation forces? And the artists who have been and are an influence for you? I’m motivated by story and color. I love art shows that tell a cohesive story. There are so many artists that influence me. Judy Chicago, Eva Hesse, Joan Mitchel, Lee Krasner....the list is long so I’ll spare you.
What can you tell us about your studio, what kind of place is it?
My studio is my favorite place to be. It’s large, light & bright, with high ceilings, and it’s on a compound on the east side of Austin with other creatives. It’s blocks away from other artist friends and some of my favorite restaurants.
What is art for you?
Art is an extension of me. It’s something i have to do. I’ve been this way my whole life. When I’m not creating, I feel frustrated. Kind of like when i don’t move my body enough, and then I go for a run and all feels right with the world again. I’m half introverted, so being alone with time to experiment with the works feels imperative but also a luxury. The other half of me is extroverted so on the weekends, I have to be surrounded by my friends. Pre-covid, that would also mean a lot of travel - which influences my work and my life almost more than anything.
Photos by: Alexandra Valenti