Artist: Alexandra Wolf
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you study or train and about your present job?
I live in a little enchanted cottage from the 17th century in Connecticut. Everyone calls it the Dollhouse its so cute. I have a wonderful little dog named Poni who trots like a pony. He is the President of Black Baroque. My family also includes my bird Merlin who is currently in love with a pink polka dot hippo! Both of my little furries are gifts from God. They bring me joy everyday and I love them dearly! I also love antiquing and fell in love with antique books years ago when I found my first miniature book. It was from 1862 and only 1.5 inches. I was so dazzled by this tiny thing from the past, its crinkled pages with worn gold, and raised words I could actually feel, that I was instantly hooked and became a book-a-holic! From there I started collecting antique books and then illustrations. One day, I decided to merge the two creating a new hobby for myself as that is all it was ever meant to be, and then Black Baroque was born! Having been an artist since I was a little girl my art over the years has taken on my forms and transitions. This one by far is my most exciting and rewarding!
What inspired or influenced you to become an artist?
Doing what I love inspired me to grow as an artist and incorporate it into my everyday life, especially making a living at it. I thought long ago, how wonderful it would be to make money creating artwork all day long, like a little child coloring on a rainy day. That is how I see myself, sitting here, coloring and playing thinking of curious creatures to bring to life, from my mind to paper. I learned some tough lessons early on when several of my friends died of cancer before seeing 25. They taught me how very short life is and in an instant, all can change. Sometimes I think of my friends and whisper to them, I am doing this for you. I will live the life, you did not have time to. That propels me most of all. So I try to live everyday to the fullest. My fullest is, being creative and giving back.
Please describe your current aesthetics, materials and medium you use in your pieces.
My current artwork is using antique book pages, and antique illustrations. I create little life scenes with these antique illustrations, and then merge them with the antique book pages making an art print. My newest art is going one step further, taking my little creatures I have made and making them more real to life, as magnets! But not your regular magnets! Die cut magnets which are the actual shape of the image as well. What is very unique about my magnets is you can create your own artwork using them on your refrigerator or car, as your pallet. For instance, I have an art print that is of an elephant with butterflies. Now I have that same elephant as a magnet, and all the individual butterflies are magnets too. So a person could buy the elephant, put him anywhere on the refrigerator, and then add the butterflies where they want as well. My magnets are very strong to hold up paper and photos, but could be used just to make cute art scenes to decorate a kitchen, or both! Most magnets are flat and shiny which takes away from the illustrations. My magnets are very unique to the market as they have a grainy, textured feel to them. Luxurious!!
Who are your current favorite artists and designers? Why?
My favorite artists are any of the masters from the 1800's who's engravings I humbly bring back to life. I worship their talent that I will never have. The patience of every line drawn, and the painstaking of every brush of paint applied with hours of drying before continuing. I might have been a great artist so long ago when they lived, as I have drawn with inks and a quill pen, and painted with oils, but with life so busy in this present day I do not have that type of patience. I ask myself when making my art, would this make them smile to see how I have changed their work, and I think they would be happy. I try to always honor the illustrations I use. My currant artists would be those that transform things. From rooms to faces! I think interior designers like those on HGTV are amazing artists. Make up artists amaze me too. Those shows where they take a person, change their hair and make up, is incredibly creative and even more so, that it changes the inside of the person as well. Art, in different forms, then your atypical pallet, draws me.
What’s been your favorite project so far?
My most favorite project so far are my new magnets. I am giddy with excitement seeing some of my creatures come to life, from the page, to an actual form, as the magnet. To be able to actually hold my Owl Magnet is amazing to me. I created him from my mind, then in illustrator and Photoshop, then onto paper, and now a magnet. Though it may seem simple, for me to make him one step more real I almost cannot take in its so thrilling.
What is a constant challenge for you and most rewarding part of having a creative profession?
I think the constant challenge for me is finding enough time to make new art while running a business and having a healthy balance in life. I have over 100 art prints still on a list I would like to make and now many more magnets I envision making too. The most rewarding part of having a creative profession, is threefold for me. One, I get to create, everyday. Two, To know that when I pack up an order, it is leaving my home, and going to someone else's home is an unbelievable gift. It is so wonderful to think that people in 43 countries have my artwork. Three, To meet all the people I have from all over the world. Many who have become my friends like Shivan! If it were not for my artwork, I would never have met them, and been so blest in knowing them.
When I am not working, I am playing frisbee with Poni three times a day as he insists! giggle I antique almost every weekend, always on the search for a new find or book. I love to garden in the summer and my neighbors love my outside home decor so much they bring me cupcakes. I am always doing something to make things prettier around me from painting a piece of furniture, or adding little pom pom trim to my closet shelves as even they have to be cute. I love to sit and chat with friends over wine at outdoor cafes with Poni by my side of course. Enjoying the simple things brings me the most happiness.
I noticed that the most of your pieces have owls, birds and other animals in it. What is their significance in your work?
Having such a deep love for my dogs and birds I have had throughout my life, the joy and love they have given me, and all they have taught me, inspires me to create the vignettes for my artwork of animals, birds, and all kinds of creatures from nature, living and playing together in harmony. My love of nature from my octopus art prints that remind me of my summers at the beach searching the water for tiny marine life creatures, to chasing after butterflies as a little girl just to have a glimpse of their magnificent wings to maybe learn the secret of flying, has always been apart of me. I think God created me to be creative. I think God is the most amazing artist of all and He made all of us to be artists in some form or another. One only has to look within, and its there. Seeing the beauty of nature daily, my love for animals and birds, being loved by them, have added to my soul. But it is they who are the real artists. I am only reflecting their beauty.