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Take Five with Alex McIntyre

Alex McIntyre’s art is inspired by walking and running which enables the close, embodied observation of changes of light, land and sky connected with breath and movement. Whilst making in the studio she tries to re-capture an impression of a particular journey. The creative process then parallels the original journey resulting in a series of visual discoveries led by interactions with materials. The completed works are a conversation between the pictorial surface, materials and the memory of movement and places. Recurring themes include explorations of space, movement and stillness, noise and silence. 

Check Alex's website (link below)for where you can see her work.

Alex is currently undertaking an impressive fundraising campaign for Clowns Without Borders UK. It began with a £500 target for her Royal Parks Half Marathon in October 2019, which was very quickly smashed! Alex has now decided to do a fundraising event each month with the aim of raising £10,000 by 31 December 2020. Clowns Without Borders works with the billion children who live in areas affected by conflict, war or disaster and it aims to encourage children to laugh, play and forget their struggles…to simply be children again. It is a wonderful cause and I encourage you to support Alex in her goal. You can find out more and donate through the link at the foot of the post.

In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?

I spend time daydreaming outside and then find ways to translate those wanderings into paintings and drawings. The best bit though is when someone sees a painting and they form a personal connection with it. I love to hear about how they relate to that piece of work and what it means to them or what it makes them think of. That's really where the moment of art happens for me. Writing this, I remember hanging a large painting at a show. The painting was essentially enormous clouds and a big open expanse of green. I wasn't sure about it and was feeling antsy about sharing it. Then something unexpected and magical happened - family groups, couples and friends started to cloud-watch. My favourite question that day was, 'Did you mean to put a dragon in it?'

Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?

This is a tough question. I go to different artists for different sorts of nourishment and friendship. I love the work of Viera Da Silva and often look at her later paintings to find a sense of peace. I was first introduced to John Virtue's paintings by a client and I adore the fierce, driving energy of his work. Ben Nicolson's drawings remind me of the importance of line and space. Jo Shapcott's poetry helps me seize life and to catch at the space between words whilst writers like Robert Macfarlane and Roger Deakin connect me to the landscape, its history and lexicography.

What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?

You are not alone. Making art can be a very solitary activity and pursuing a career as an artist can feel like insanity to everyone around you. The more artists and creative professionals I meet, the more I know that working in the arts is the best gift, and the more I understand that this tribe is welcoming and global.

If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?

Go for a walk or run. Move until your mind stops and you cross over into a space of noticing and curiosity. If that doesn't work, reach out to an artist friend and have a chat. Their passion for what they are working on will be infectious, or alternatively if they are also stuck, then this can be a healing moment for both of you.

And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?

A paint splattered trainer with holes in the toe. This shoe is not beautiful, but will get you where you need to go, in any weather and on most terrains. It has had lots of adventures already and is up for many more.


Originally published 17/8/17

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