Artists are constantly evolving and exploring new realms within their practice, reminding us that change should be embraced! Kaleido chatted with Alex Xerri, a painter and ceramicist who regularly documents the weird and wonderful around her, forming the inspiration behind her work.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a painter and ceramicist about to finish my BA Fine Art in Painting at National Art School. A few years back I gave design a red hot go at a university but it wasn’t a good fit for me at all, so I left a year early to go to art school instead. That was the turning point when art became my career choice, not just some side hobby. I spend most of my time in my studio building frames and stretching canvases, working on paintings and making small ceramic sculptures.
What generally influences your subjects and style within your practice?
I’m hugely into exploring weird and interesting landscapes far away, documenting it with a toy plastic film camera, a small deck of paper and a pack of textas. I place a lot of importance on research into subject matter. I like documenting wild animals, farm animals, arctic fish, mountains, volcanoes, northern lights, old cars, crumbling houses, ruins, caves and icebergs. I’m also really into abstract expressionist painters, neo-expressionism, naïve painting, gritty pre 2000’s cartoons, Medieval South American art, old nature documentaries and palaeontology.
What is it about painting and sculpting that draws you in to pursue it as a career?
It’s a big journey of building your own unique style and having an ongoing dialogue back and forth in the studio, one on one between artist and artwork. There is room to breathe and no instructions to follow; just get into the studio, focus and start making. I like the other aspects too; going to gallery openings, looking at lots of paintings and ceramics, talking to lots of artists, talking about art with so many different people, and watching documentaries on great painters of the 20th Century and having a look into their lives as painters; I’m basically in a never-ending cycle of looking at art, thinking about art, researching and painting.
How do you balance your personal projects with other commitments such as work, assignments, friends etc.?
I wouldn’t call it balanced, but basically I draw 1 day a week and work in my studio 3 to 4 days a week and I usually just stay in there working until security boots me out in the evening or until it’s time to go out to a few gallery openings.
I try to get assignments over and done with as quickly as possible so I can go back to painting. I don’t work much at the moment and I mostly see friends at gallery openings or at the pub after a day of painting.
What usually sets you up for a good day in the studio?
A couple of percolated coffees at sunrise, clean dry brushes, and my old beaten up iPod classic fully charged.
Which galleries should we check out in our free time?
China Heights Gallery, Goodspace Gallery, Gallery 9, Liverpool St Gallery, ULTRA Collective Inc., Chalk Horse Gallery, Egg and Dart, Alaska Projects, Stacks, Lilac City.
Do you have any dream collaborations?
I think it would be cool to collab on something outdoors in really interesting landscapes with friends. There are a few places I’d have in mind for that. I’d love to go to Wycliffe Well and paint all the weird UFO stuff, the old petrol station and the cars in the desert. Or go back to the Arctic and make volcano related work on site, or paint at an aeroplane graveyard, or work on something on a boat at sea and document marine life.
Any last bits of advice for any young creatives wanting to grow and explore more with art?
Go to lots of gallery openings, talk to lots of artists, experiment with materials, go to the library regularly and have a read through lots of books from art eras that interest you and learn about what kind of art was around before you.
Where can we check out some of your work?
The grad show at National Art School on November 30th is where a lot of my paintings will be, otherwise find me on Instagram @prehistorytv, or check out my website alexprehistorytv.com