Nourishing Her Creativity
Netherland's based artist, Alexandra Fraser delights audiences with expressing herself through mixing traditional crafts with the contemporary. Her comes from the automatic and subconscious realms along with spreading messages and narratives about what it's like to be a woman in today's world.
Your toe is dipped in many artistic mediums and styles, can you tell us about what you do and what it means to you? ~ I tend to want to explore new ideas and processes. If I have the opportunity to learn a new creative process then I will. I love mixing traditional crafts such as sewing and ceramic processes with images and ideas that have inspired me. Years ago I wanted to find ‘my’ medium, but I’ve long since given up on that… why limit myself to one when I can try them all? I’ve found that exploring different ways to communicate an idea can result in better work. I also incorporate performance into my work. I love being part of how the audience experiences the work. It is so present, so intense.
One thing that is constant in my work is people, I portray people. I can’t imagine wanting to make art about anything else. People are endlessly fascinating. I see the world in terms of the people in it, bodies and faces. These ideas always translate into my work somehow. Everyday I learn more about humans, our sexualities and how humanity is literally embodied, in bodies.
Where are you based and how have you immersed yourself within the community? ~ I’m based in Eindhoven in the Netherlands. I’ve been here for about eight months now and I’ve found it a very nourishing place for my creativity. My studio is in an art centre, so I’m surrounded by other artists and I’m treated to a changing schedule of exhibitions and events to nourish my creativity. There are a lot of interesting things going on here, the city is new, industrial and growing quickly. The art scene here manages to be unpretentious. I am loving it; being in a new environment can motivate new ideas and new kinds of art.
Are you currently working on any projects or planning a body of work? ~ I’m currently working on a big series of paintings. I am creating portraits of women bound in elastic. They are a growing series in pastel colours. The paintings definitely have some comedic value, but say more about what it means to be a woman today and the (metaphorical and actual) constraints that are put upon us. I love to depict women and I identify as an unapologetic feminist.
Do you have an overall favourite piece of work that speaks deeply from your inner self? ~ I’m not sure, I mean, all my work comes from me and the way I experience the world. I guess for me the meaning comes with the process and the making, that’s what’s special for me.
As for the result, some of it I like, some of it I don’t, each piece is different. Some older pieces make me cringe, but they are all part of my growth. I couldn’t make what I’m making now without everything that I’ve learned and that has gone before. I guess I’m most satisfied when the finished product is close to what I imagined. I like to hear what other people get from my work. I love to know when it is completely different to my interpretation. Some might see this as a failure, but I feel like I’ve created something with a meaning all of its own.
What makes you deliriously happy and calm in today's world? ~ Spending time with those I love, of course. Aside from that, having enough room for my creative endeavours means the world to me. I am fortunate enough, for the first time to have my own studio space. To have the energy and space to explore and create really adds another dimension to life.
What does success mean to you? ~ Being able to do what I love everyday. I don’t really need more than that. If people like my work, then that’s great. If I can inspire another artist to make something, then that’s great too. But for me the satisfaction is in the making. Having the time and motivation to work on my art everyday is my success, and I’m very lucky to have that now.
What are your goals this year? ~ I’m hoping to put together a solo exhibition towards the end of the year. I’ve only put my work in group exhibitions before, or taken part as a performer, so this will be a big step for me. It’s nerve-wracking! I’m hoping that as soon as I’ve got some dates finalised it will inspire a buzz of creativity and production.
Do you have any new mixed media concepts/ideas you plan on experimenting with in the future? ~ I’m back working in a ceramics studio this month, after a break of almost two years. I’d love to take my bound women three-dimensional. I’m hoping to make some ceramic sculptures of women’s heads wrapped in fabric. Of course with experimental ceramics, it might not work at all. But I’m very excited about trying.
I’m also planning on exploring some basket weaving techniques, and making some pieces incorporating this craft. I have many ideas, and I love to mix mediums and aesthetics.
Where can people find your work and connect with you online? ~ You can see my work and contact me through my website: www.alexandrafraser.eu And there’s work in progress on my Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/alexandra_fraser_art/
What inspires and motivates your approach to art? ~ Everything and anything can inspire me. Usually I’ll be waiting for an idea and it’ll occur out of the blue, weeks later. Something will stick with me, an image or a process, and then suddenly I’ll realise what I have to do with it. I’m a big fan of the surrealists, particularly Hans Bellmer and his obscure portrayal of sexualities. Louise Bourgeois and Marlene Dumas are incredible artists who never fail to inspire and motivate me. My own exploration and failures are very important, too.