Interview by: Martin “the Clown” Barry
Charlotte is fortunate to have some really amazing talent. The Clown decided it was high time the readers got to know Alexandra Loesser.
Clown: I admit that your piece called The French Invasion was the first item to draw me to your work, but your themes are much broader. How do you decide what to do when?
Loesser: I believe that piece was made specifically for a themed show, but despite that I still want my work to look like it’s mine. Even if I decide to do a commission, the piece should still look like it belongs in my collection of work. I try to listen to my instincts when it comes to new subject matter. If I become very inspired by something and I can’t stop thinking about it that means it’s time to start painting. However, that can sometimes lead me all over the board, so I try and stay focused long enough to produce a couple pieces that make up a cohesive series. Oftentimes there are multiple things to explore within one idea.
Clown: What or who would you list as influential on your work?
Loesser: So many people and things have influenced my work. Contemporaries whose work I admire remind me to stay fresh and bold and not to fear or judge my own ideas. My personal world has a big influence on me because working from your own experiences keeps the work honest. Other artists who have had a significant effect on me include Jenny Morgan, Beth Cavener, Francisco Goya, and Cindy Sherman to name a few. Actually, I could go on forever. There are also several writers that inspire me. I think writing is really closely related to painting. Additionally, my fellow Charlotte artists keep the fire going, too.
Clown: What formative elements and parts of your experience and education are consistent throughout your works?
Loesser: I attribute a good deal of the way I paint to my education. I learned a lot in school but also worked hard to “unlearn” some things when I got out, which is a big part of finding your own voice. While there was certainly technique to learn, I was really fortunate to have incredible artists to study under, too. I was taught to critique and question myself about what it is I want to say with my work. Art isn’t just about color and form; it has to go much deeper. Studying art history as well as conceptual art theory helped me to bring emotion to my work, and that can’t be achieved with technique alone. So, I hope that I am always consistently exploring something in my work and not just making art to complement a sofa.
Clown: Are you creating every day or do you hit road blocks occasionally?
Loesser: Sure, I hit road blocks all the time, but I still create every day, even when it feels painful. You never know when something magical will happen, so it’s important to go in and work every day. Painting is my job and I’m conscientious about treating it that way. It’s a job I’m deeply connected to and grateful for, but I have to kick my own butt to get out of bed and go to work eight hours a day. Sometimes pushing through a block is the only way to get over it, even if that means trashing a painting and starting fresh.
Clown: Other than creating, what is your favorite thing to do?
Loesser: I love film and music; it’s like watching and listening to other people’s art. I like a nice glass of wine, too. I think being outside is necessary when you are breathing in as many toxins as I am. I’m enjoying this fall air!
Clown: We have seen lots of pieces in oils from you. Are you still producing pieces using other media?
Loesser: Oils are definitely my primary medium; they never get boring. My first love will always be drawing. This question is a good reminder to do more of that. I’ve also been playing around with water colors since I paint with kind of a wet look. The verdict is still out on how I feel about those. Sculpture is something I’m always thinking about but haven’t done since school. I don’t want to limit myself to just one medium, but it’s easy to get comfortable.
Clown: What are the messages or feelings you wish to convey through your work?
Loesser: I want people to feel something from it. I don’t care how it makes them feel as long as they feel something. The viewers will most likely not have the same take on my work that I do and that’s kind of cool (viewing things through our own discourse). I think the reason that I paint is to tap into human emotion (probably even my own), so that no matter how complex or simple the emotion, it comes through.
• THRU Nov. 30th @ Baku Gallery (Fu’s Tattoos) : Genome “Future” feat.the work of Alexandra Loesser & more (opening reception Nov. 4th 6-9pm)
• Dec. 4th - Jan. 13th @ Greenhill Center for NC Art (Greensboro) : paintings by Alexandra Loesser & more
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