About Artist 1
Alexa Williams is a native New Yorker whose focus has largely been on abstract landscape painting over the last dozen years. Currently however, she is exploring more abstract territory with the use of construction materials such as cement, chalk and metal combining organic and manmade elements into her Concrete (Urban) series. Alexa graduated from The San Francisco Art Institute in 2001, painted by the sea in Spain and now, back in Red Hook Brooklyn, Alexa's use of industrial materials reflects what she finds amongst her urban surroundings whilst exposing a tenderness in such a durable world. 
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In conversation with Ai Campbell

Erin: What are you curious about?

Ai:
  • My oldest ancestor and how many generations existed to get to me
  • What my skeleton really looks like
  • The concept of unlimited (endless) also blank space and emptiness
  • The shapes of circles and spheres
  • Relationship in between reality and dream
  • What my dog is really thinking
  • What if there is no color in the world and everything was black and white
  • Is there any creature like human in the universe
  • The moment living flesh stops functioning or when I realize that my life is actually about to be done
  • How many people do I actually encounter in my entire life
  • What I am going to be painting or making 10 years from now
  • What does it feel like if I am able to talk to myself face to face

Erin: Describe your art and describe your process.

Ai: Three things that are really important to my work are visual stimulation, beauty and complexity. I like things that are jarring, beautiful and intricate all at the same time. I’m obsessed with creating patterns. A lot of my visual ideas come from nature. I take photos as I walk on the streets or wherever and use them for my work.
Also it’s about textures, monochromatic, negative and positive spaces. In my current paintings, there are generally two processes intended to represent spontaneity and intentionality, respectively. I work with ink and water a lot. When I drop it on my canvas it breaks loose and finds it’s way to settle. I cannot really control how it moves. Then I start drawing details on the same surface and that’s the part that I can better control with precision in the second process. I like those two aspects together.

Erin: Where do you get your inspiration from?

Ai: Bones, holes, rocks, organic shapes, nature forms that that have been developed over long periods of time and other things that make me be aware of long passages of time.
I have a little book that I always carry with me. Whatever ideas and words that inspire me I record. When I go back to the book and read through it, I often find the path to my next project. It’s funny but sometimes I realize that I wrote down the same exact words over and over again. I try to pay attention to what I’m feeling and what’s really going on with me every day.

Erin: What’s your scariest experience?

Ai: Being chased by a stranger twice. First time it happened in my hometown when I was in high school, second time was when I was traveling in Singapore. I often have those types of dreams but it’s the worst when it happens in the real life. Why they had to choose me and scare me out of thousands of people?

Erin: What jobs have you done other than being an artist?

Ai: Digital image retoucher

Erin: What currently inspires you — what are you reading, listening to or looking at that drives your work?

Ai: I’ve really been into bones, especially animal bones for quite a while. The bold shapes and the textures are inspirational. It’s very fascinating when I look at the animal skulls that hang on my studio walls and think that it used to be moving under living skin.

Erin: Big picture or details?

Ai: Details, details and details.

Erin: Chaos or order?

Ai: More towards Chaos. When it comes to art I get fascinated to see chaos in order, something that appears clean, simple and in order from a distance yet has very intense details close up.

Erin: What’s your favorite bar in Brooklyn?

Ai: Gran Electrica, I’m a big fan of their Margaritas.