Alex Garant Interview
Alex Garant’s oil paintings are an intriguing combination of pop surrealism and a traditional portrait; they are far from a traditional work of art. She’s been oil painting since she was seven, so it’s no wonder that her paintings will make you question reality (“Wait, are they moving?” “Where are eyes supposed to be on my face again?”). We are fortunate enough that we were able to pick her brain and find out what goes on behind the mastermind of these designs. Spoiler Alert: One thing you’ll find out is that she wishes she could fly.
When was the first moment you decided you wanted to be an artist?
Art has always been part of my life… I remember a gouache painting I made when I was 5 years old, it’s one of my earliest memories, I was so proud. I enjoyed painting and drawing as a child and attended my first oil painting class when I was 7 years old.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere! There are certain types of ostensibly disparate images I find myself consistently attracted to; such as early ink printing, vintage pop surrealism, baroque tapestries and retro kitsch. I enjoy creating a contrast between the subject I am painting and the visual technique. And Bob Ross. I love Bob Ross.
If you could work with another artist, who would it be?
That would be a long, long list. I am a huge Art fan-girl and enjoy collecting originals as well. On my favorite artists list you would find: Modigliani, Bouguereau and Francis Bacon. As for a list of fantasy collaborations: I would have to mention Casey Weldon, Travis Louie and Erik Jones.
What has been the best moment in your career?
The first time a gallery offered me a solo show. I was so overwhelmed by the love and support. I couldn’t believe someone else cared about what I had been quietly producing in my basement. I had kept my work a secret for so long, it was an incredibly validating experience to realize someone else, someone objective, could appreciate these images I had created. I felt like an ugly caterpillar emerging from the cocoon, entirely without expectation, but so grateful that people value and embrace who I have become as an artist.
What is your ideal day?
I am pretty easy going but I do thrive on routine. A perfect day would probably be something like this: waking up early-ish, eat breakfast, walk the dogs, lose the sense of time in the studio all day, hit the gym for an hour, more food, some cuddle time with my boyfriend, maybe more food.
Who is your role model?
I admire anyone who is smarter, more talented or a better person than myself. And that includes A LOT of people…most of the planet, actually. I’ve believe that it’s vital to surround yourself with people who challenge you and to always be open to learning from anyone who knows more than you. Staying humble and curious is the key to a fulfilling life.
If you could do anything, what would it be?
Fly, be invisible, know what people are thinking, spatial-temporal travel…obviously.
Why do you create art?
I create art because that’s how I best express myself. To me, Art is a language; spoken in colours, brush strokes, and composition. Fortunately, some people understand that language and connect with it. Art brings people together by creating a beauty appreciation movement. I also create for very selfish reasons; our biological bodies will inevitably die, leaving Art behind is a practice in immortality.
How has your art changed throughout your life?
My art changed a lot over the years; there were times when I wasn’t interested in creating realistic figures, and now I find myself gently returning to realism. Albeit, there are some eternal elements that will remain constant I’ve always loved symmetry, mirror effects, patterns…but those elements evolve with me, as I am changing as a person. Technique will progress as well, I’ve always loved to work à la prima, but I’m constantly refining my method. Hopefully, my current pieces are better than what I was doing when I was 12 years old. haha
What is your dream project?
Every new piece is a dream project! Every time I start a new painting, I think it will be “The One”. A more business-oriented goal would be to start curating some art shows and possibly manage a small gallery someday.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
“Stop wasting time on self-doubt. Fake it until you make it.” haha
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