Alexis Murray is a fine artist living and working in Venice, California. She's also my friend, and real cool. We had a chance to sit down recently and dig more into her art and the path that got her here.
That path began in Philadelphia, where Murray was born and raised in household where "Artists were like heroes in our house." Her family's appreciation for art was further encouraged in high school, where Murray had the first teacher that really celebrated her work in a Mrs. Alice Cook. That led to attending Cooper Union Art School in New York and then transferred to Rhode Island School Of Design to pursue her higher education in painting and photography.
After working gigs in graphic design and as a photography assistant, and working on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor auction at Sotheby's in New York, Murray was happy to be working in her field ... but really missed painting. She created her first studio in her friend's extra bedroom and got into grad school at the School Of Visual Arts in NYC. She also got into illustration while there, which I totally see in her work ... you really want her to illustrate some very cool book out there. She had to choose a mentor for her thesis, and renowned photographer Duane Michals filled that role. His sense of humor and surrealism impacted her work, and grad school set her off in the direction of her current work.
Murray wound up falling in love with her childhood crush, Austin, and he lived in Los Angeles, so that meant a move across the country. Together they embarked on a worldwide trip, which so influenced Murray that she set up her art studio right when they got back, all inspired. Two (darling) little girls (Luna and Larkin) soon followed, and that meant the studio space got sub-letted, while Murray spent more time at home. Home also affected the work, as painting at home with babies necessitated smaller scaled pieces, both for space and time.
Being home with two little girls also meant lots of time spent with imagination, dress-up, role playing ... "All the things that inform who you'll become." As Murray explained, "I want my art to have that sense of magic that you have in life as kids." As you can tell by looking at any given piece of her work, it certainly does.
We also spoke about the Venice we love, and Murray told me, "I've only ever lived in Venice in L.A. - and I have every intention of dying in Venice." (Her headstones would certainly fit in here!) She felt similar to how I did when I first came here, that "Venice is the essence of being free to be who you are." Arriving from New York, Venice fit Murray to a T. "People are so open-minded and so cool ... it's bohemian, but upscale if you want that ... the climate ... the creative vibe ... you just meet the best people here." Fact.
Visit Alexismurray.com to see more, or visit her at the Beacon Arts Building for Open Studios, November 8th and 9th, 12-5 pm. Murray is located in Studio 4D.