Pat Alexander studied art in New York then went on to work as a graphic designer, illustrator and art director for prestigious companies such as Harper’s Bazaar. Continuing her career in a freelance capacity with projects including illustration, design and photography for major clients including Vogue, New York Magazine, Glamour, Salve (Italy), Freizit (Germany), Bergdorf Goodman, Lord & Taylor, Yves St. Laurent, Anne Klein, Jean Nate, Faberge, to name just few; quite an achievement! What we love about the artwork Pat creates is her ability to be diverse whilst maintaining her style and originality. Beautiful work that combines traditional photography with art, mixing her passion and the beauty of everyday situations with a sense of the surreal. Abstractions, evocative photographs, and the serenity of flowers are all part of Pat’s wonderful portfolio of art, work that is imaginative and captures the essence of mood. We are very happy to share Pat’s art and we are very excited to follow her next steps on what will be without doubt a very exciting artistic journey.
Self taught or art school?
From finger paints to watercolors to my first set of oil paints, I happily worked alone. I studied art at Parsons. Being surrounded by some excellent teachers, a wide range of art approaches and so much talent couldn’t help but expand my thinking and help me grow. Even in later years I’ve continued developing new art skills, studying sculpture, animation and computer graphics. When you work alone it’s stimulating to get out and see what other creatives are up to.
If you could own one work of art what would it be?
A painting by Matisse, Gauguin or Klimt. Actually I already have a reproduction of a Gauguin drawing I found in Paris that I treasure so it’s either Matisse or Klimt.
How would you describe your style?
I can’t. I can only say what I like and strive for. In my photographs, light is everything. It may sound odd, but to me some light is alive and draws me in and some isn’t. Solid composition is important too and I always look for strong negative space. Setting up rhythms in the subject matter is satisfying too. Colors? Clear and rich but not blinding, overboard PhotoShop Technicolor which really makes me wince. Beauty excites me. I suppose I’m also influenced by my early days working at Harper’s Bazaar. With so many gifted creators like Avedon, Irving Penn, Hiro and Diana Vreeland floating around, there was always a sense of striving for visual excellence.
Where are your favorite places to view art?
I have one favorite place — the Metropolitan Museum. I’m lucky to live nearby and I’ve spent many happy hours there wandering through centuries of masterpieces. It is still extraordinary to me to stand inches away from a great work of art and realize the artist once stood exactly in my footsteps while creating it.
Who are your favorite artists and why?
Again, Matisse, Klimt and Gauguin and that whole French Fauve gang. All that gorgeous color — so joyous. I also like Lautrec for his fabulous line, Cameron for her poetic portraits, Stella for his stripes and lots more…
What or who inspires your art?
Inspiration pops up all over the place. An hour’s waltz through the Met both lifts my spirits and fills me with all kinds of ideas. Just strolling on New York City Streets is a bonanza of inspiration from store windows, people passing, the way light hits buildings, oddballs and oddness of all kinds and the forever unfolding city spectacle.
Where’s your studio and what’s it like?
All my photographs are taken outdoors in natural light so I have the whole world at my disposal. All my computer work further developing my photographs happens in my tiny studio on the top floor of a brownstone, built when people arrived by horse and carriage. Originally one of the maid’s rooms, it’s truly tiny, very cozy and dimly lit –perfect for focusing on a glowing rectangle of light. Now that it’s packed with so much tech equipment and computer file storage, however, my days of painting large canvases there are more or less kaput.
Do you have any studio rituals?
The name of the game is comfort, So yes, I do work barefoot in PJs and caftans and ancient sweats. That’s one of the pluses of working at home — not having to get up and put on make-up and get dressed and fight rush hour traffic — all of which I’ve done and am happy not to do now.
What are you working on currently?
This Spring, having found and photographed some gorgeously colored tulips, I started a love affair with flowers and nature that’s deepened with my recent discovery of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. This winter I plan on playing around with software and experimenting with these images. I’m still fascinated by turning photos into abstracts so that’s on the agenda too. And of course there’s the usual just walking out the door and capturing the exciting stuff happening on the streets and in the parks of this city I love.
Where can we buy your art?
Being a bit of a control freak (okay – a full-blown control freak) I print my own images on a high end Epson printer on luscious watercolor color paper I found in Texas. I sell directly from my site http://patalexanderphotoart.com and ship internationally.
What are your ambitions?
I’m always surprised by people who can tell you what they plan on doing 3 or 5 years from now. The one thing I planned for the future was to become an illustrator. That happened. But in the years that followed, I also became a graphic designer, an art director, a managing editor, a photographer, a creative director, and a computer photo artist. All were unplanned. And all were valuable endeavors because they prepared me for what I do now. So my current ambition is to become even better at photographic art.