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5 Minutes With Long Beach-Based Artist Alex Gardner

The Hole recently announced RomCom, a solo exhibition of 15 new acrylic on linen paintings by Alex Gardner that will run from September 7 through October 15, 2017. The works on view consist of abstracted figures posed in pastel environments, composed using subtle gradients and tonal shifts. Together they represent a silent but dramatic romantic comedy.


We caught up with Gardner to discuss his use of pastels, creative process, and his candid morning routine.


AZ: Morning routine?

Drink water -> Eat -> Make coffee -> Drink half of it in my backyard soaking in the delectable rays of the Southern California sun -> Drink the other half while looking at the two emails I got, feel anxious and not respond -> Poop -> Shower


AZ: What do you like to read?

I don’t read a lot to be honest.  It’s embarrassing.  I’ve been playing catch up with all the European and American classics in fiction for the last ten years.


AZ: Have you ever wanted to do anything other than become an artist?

This is a trick question.


Self Portrait

AZ: Could you tell us a little about your background and growing up in LA? Has it informed your artistic practice?

No doubt growing up in the LA area has informed my practice.  It’s all an extension of myself and we’re all just a result of our upbringing and genealogy.


AZ: What is your creative process like? Do you know what you’re going to create before you start working?

Visually speaking, I always have an idea of the composition and the direction of light when I begin.  I figure out the colors as I’m working.  I don’t make comprehensive studies, so these things change a lot as I’m working.  As for the subject matter, everything is gathered outside of the studio when I’m taking time away from working and am out and about.


AZ: Is there something that draws you to pastels environments? 

In a painting, you’re really limited with what you have to express an idea.  With representational work, it’s obviously easier to get ideas across, but color is such a major tool in expressing the intangible things like emotion, feeling and mood.


Auditions in the frozen food section

AZ: The body parts are not anatomically correct, but we are particularly drawn to the hands in your paintings. Is there a specific body part that is more difficult for you to visualize than others?

The hardest thing for me to sort out is the clothing.


AZ: Your titles are somewhat removed, like “the ceiling fan was useless,” “no kissing on the pilgrimage,” or “forgot my wallet.” Yet the works are so emotive. How do you see the relationship between the titling and the work?

The titles are basically inside jokes with myself.  They’re meant to reflect the subject matter in the work though.  Just in a very roundabout, whimsical and somewhat cryptic way.


AZ: Favorite art space in NYC?

I really can’t say because I haven’t had the chance to visit 97% of them but The Hole is cool, and I hear there’s a rather fun show there until the 15th of October.


Forgot my wallet

AZ: Words to live by?

You’re gonna die either way so fuck it.


AZ: Best way to stay in touch? 

My instagram handle is @artposer.

all images // courtesy of the artist