Alexandra Gallagher answers FADs Questions

1. If you weren’t an artist, what else would you be?
I really don’t know. I’ve always wanted to be an artist, to just create. I’m quite hard to live with when I don’t do something creative, it’s part of who I am. I know that sounds like a cliché. I think I would be one of those mum’s that makes everything they see on Pinterest… I have to confess I’m addicted to Pinterest.

2. Can you tell us more about your work and what are the main ideas you would like to express?
At the moment a lot of my work is based on growing up. Childhood is when the world is full of magic and endless possibilities. I try to reflect the loneliness of childhood and the fear – as well as the adventure and amazement of everything.

3. How do you start the process of making work?
Coffee! Lots of coffee! I try to treat the day as if I was going out to work a nine to five job but in my PJ’s. I start as soon as my daughters have gone to school I normally get an idea when I’m falling asleep – that place that falls between the land of dreams and reality. Once I have an idea for a piece I start by taking photographs and jotting ideas down on random bits of paper. I use photography a lot in my work. I also use Photoshop to sketch out ideas before I use a more traditional medium like paint. I am quite bad for just jumping into a painting though and the digital work I do is never planned. It grows organically. I can never predict the direction the final composition will take. Sometimes I am surprised by what I produce.

4. Do you consider the viewer, when making your work?
Yes and no. If I am creating a piece for a client, then yes. When I am producing my own work, then not so much. It’s personal to me and art is very subjective; not everyone is going to like what I do aesthetically or what I have to say. As an artist you have to be very comfortable with understanding that there will be people that really don’t like what you do.

5. Name 3 artists that have inspired your work.
There are a number whose work I love at the moment: I am always looking at art on the internet and in galleries. There is so much talent and amazing creativity out there. It influences me and intimidates me all at the same time. I would have to say I’m really into the beautiful work of Monica Cook right now and I just love Benjamin Cohen’s work. Jenny Saville was a huge influence with my portrait work, the way she works skin tones is amazing.

6. What defines something as a work of art?
That’s a tricky one. I would say whenever someone has been creative. I think we’re told too often what should be classed as art, what is fashionable, what is right.

7. Anytime, any place – which artist’s body would you most like to inhabit?
Leonardo Da Vinci. I would love to see what it was like to be him, how he thought really intrigues me.

8. What was the most intelligent thing that someone said or wrote about your work? I get lots of different reactions to my work depending on what it is. This was one of the best ‘reactions’ I have had to my work. It was left in the comments after I had done an interview for Saatchi Online:

“Art for Dummies: Little girl lost in a corner, with little giraffe and scorpion, and nice owl for company, oooh, it’s so creepy and surreal, gives me the shivers, and the technique is like a photograph, so it must be real? But the strange thing is, why are so many people painting little lost Alice in Wonderland’s? Answer: Maybe it’s because these people are little children who still wet the bed at nights because they have nightmares of crawly bugs climbing under their nighties and biting them. . . . Surrealism set out to shock by using everyday objects, juxtaposed in a way so as to reveal the strange and disturbing subconscious. Artists today appear to juxtapose everyday cliches, which do not provoke, nor shock the senses, but leave a dry yawn. Too many artists. NOT ENOUGH ART.”

Luke McKeown

9. Which artists would you most like to rip off, sorry, I mean appropriate as a critique of originality and authorship? Hmm… I think it would have to be Jenny Saville mixed with a dose of surrealism.

10. Do you care what your art costs? State your reasons!
I try not to, but it’s hard. I feel art should be accessible to everyone and I try to make my work affordable no matter how long it’s taken me to produce. You should create art because you need to, not to make money. It’s an honour when someone loves your work enough to buy it. I find it hard though because I also believe that an artist should be paid for the time they have spent creating something. Its hard work, it’s not just making a pretty picture.

11. What’s next for you?
At the moment I’m working on a few commissions and working towards my degree in painting. I’m also itching to get on with more of my own personal stuff. I have another set of paintings in my head that I’m really excited to start.

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the founder and editor of FAD magazine, a curation of the world’s most interesting culture, and Creative Director of FAD Agency, a strategy & creative agency working with brands to solve business problems using cultural tools. In 2008 following his passion for art he founded what has grown to become FAD magazine. FAD magazine is internationally recognized as a key figure within the emerging and contemporary art world, and has been selected as official partner by organizations as diverse as Moniker Art Fair, START, Volta and Christie’s. In addition Mark is a columnist for City Magazine.

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