Our 'ON THE SPOT ' interview series highlights individuals throughout the creative community for their contributions to art and culture. Putting these artists "on the spot" we created a space where creatives and innovators tap into the conversation to uplift and continue to inspire the creative community. Next up is...Nicholas Alexander.
Creating art that speaks to the soul is what visual artist, painter, and illustrator Nicholas Alexander does. Whether it's a captivating artistic portrait of a black figure or an adorable character illustration like in his children’s book “The Coolest Beard." Born and raised in Hampton, Virginia he recently made the move to the west coast and now resides in Los Angeles, California. Nicholas has always had a passion for expression through art and visual storytelling. His work explores the importance of representation by showcasing people of color in a positive, innovative, and captivating way. As an illustrator that strives to capture real moments and everyday characters, his goal is to encourage imagination through art by creating visual stories that inspire others.
What's the best thing you've done, simply because you were told you can't?
The best thing I’ve ever done simply because I was told I couldn’t was to keep going, continuing to follow my passions despite professors and advisors telling me I wasn’t good enough or that I was a one trick pony. I used those moments as fuel to drive me, pushing me out of my comfort zone and exceeding my own expectations.
What are you manifesting in 2023?
In 2023 I’m manifesting my very first solo exhibition to showcase how far I’ve evolved as an artist, share a positive message with the community, and to inspire other creatives that it's possible for them too. ss
If you could build your dream creative team who would it be?
If I could build my dream creative team it would be filled with artists and creatives that have inspired me throughout my career and have impacted the culture. Artists like Kadir Nelson, Vashti Harrison, and Delfin Finley and directors like Matthew Cherry and Issa Rae have all heavily influenced the artist I am today. Those creatives have brought out things in me I didn't know existed.
What have you grown to love and/or outgrown in the past year?
Within the past year I have realized how much I was holding myself back artistically being afraid to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. I have experimented with new mediums and techniques that have transformed my portfolio in ways I never thought possible for myself. I’ve outgrown settling and selling myself short when it comes to my art. I deserve to get paid what I'm worth.
How do you feel about this statement: "Black Artists Matter"...
To me the phrase “Black Artist Matter” has become a statement that will define the culture of black creatives. So many black artists are emerging feeling empowered and confident enough to express themselves through their art whether it be painting, writing, music, dance, fashion designing or makeup. Black artists have continuously shifted the culture and set trends the world recognizes and I love to be a part of this movement.
What creative source or outlet do you often visit to get inspiration and renew your creativity?
Music has been a major source for inspiration and a starting plot for my creativity. Storytelling is such an important element within music and my artistry and has influenced many of my pieces. When I can't find the right inspiration sometimes music will evoke an emotion that triggers ideas and ways to share a message. I’m also inspired by what other artists do and how they interpret a medium using their own techniques. I like to consider myself a sponge constantly soaking up the art influences and stories that I come across implementing them into my own craft to tell more stories.
What are you unapologetic for?
I’m very unapologetic towards my love and fascination for black people and how I love to showcase them in beautiful ways each time I create a new piece of work. I’m unapologetic in how strong we are and how we continue to prosper and endure taking things that were once meant to hold us back and strive regardless of the circumstances. We will always have a story and as an artist I try my best to showcase how we have overcome our trials and still remain beautiful.
Have you ever had a "this can't be happening" moment? Tell us more about this experience.
I feel right now I’m having my “This can’t be happening” moment in my career. I feel extremely blessed to be at this point in my journey to know who I am as an artist, receive amazing opportunities to share my gift with the world and to have them appreciate and love what I do. Being an artist isn't the easiest career path to choose and some days you may question if it's worth it but despite the many ups and downs throughout my journey I have stayed consistent and always knew there was more waiting for me. I’m finally receiving my flowers and it's validating but also happening at the most perfect time in my life.
If you were to throw a message bottle into the ocean, what would it say?
The message I’d put into a bottle and throw in the ocean would say “Let your imagination open up the doors to tomorrow”. Meaning allows yourself to be free and maybe a little delusional seeing things for yourself that maybe only you can see right now and the support and success will follow. Allow yourself to fail a lot and use those instances to push you in whatever you choose to do with your life. Let those dreams and ambitions you have now open up doors for you in the future.
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