Alexandria Canchola

Alexandria Canchola - All My Life I thought I'd Change. Third Coast National Biennial 2020. K Space Contemporary

Alexandria Canchola is a Texas-based designer, illustrator, and practicing artist whose work is often inspired by a fondness for storytelling, color, letterforms, and filmmaking. Through narrative storytelling, the work explores universal and often unresolved themes that have preoccupied mankind since the beginning of time. Color is used to document the human experience by connecting narrative and emotion.

Her career in the arts was not quite a straight-line path, including detours in the fields of journalism and filmmaking. She has a BA from the University of Texas at Austin and an MFA in 2D Design from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She has worked for publications, small businesses, and non-profits in many roles working to solve problems creatively so ideas can come to life. Her personal approach to creative work stems from her desire to empower people and make a difference by crafting work that is engaging and most importantly meaningful. She has completed residencies at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, California, and Zea Mays Printmaking in Florence, Massachusetts.

Her work has received awards from American Illustration, American Advertising Federation, Pulse Magazine, Brownsville Museum of Fine Art, and more. She is currently an Assistant Professor for the Graphic Design program at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi eagerly working to assist her students in their quest for knowledge so they may fully understand the power they wield as designers in communicating ideas that change everything.

Tell us about the work( you have in this exhibition.

Alexandria Canchola Third Coast National

All My Life I thought I’d Change
19″ x 15″ framed
gouache on paper

The painting features a character who feels no need to smile. The boredom she feels is contributed to a life outside her control. A feeling that never went away.

What draws you to your chosen medium, what do you love about it?

I create illustrations with gouache paint on paper. It is a medium that I love for its velvety matte finish and opaque highly pigmented color.

I’m not precious with my tools and have never chosen to invest in quality brushes because I don’t trust myself to take care of them. Instead, I have about a hundred brushes, because I can never bear to throw anything away once I’m done using it. Generally speaking, I prefer to use angled brushes because they allow for the application of flat color. For detail work, which there is a lot of, I use the smallest spot brushes I can find. I prefer working small, there is an intimacy between myself and the illustration. I hunch over the page, a closeness I’m not sure is healthy, but a position I constantly find myself in. Gouache is an unforgiving medium, and close attention is necessary, plans are necessary. I start with reference photos, I make a quick light sketch and move forward. Painting is an additive ongoing process, at least for me, I start with the background, laying down the colors I’m most interested in exploring. I approach color in regard to their relationships with each other, one and then the next, and so on. The process is an intuitive one.

As far as my studio space goes: The studio is cramped and messy with works collecting piles and piles on tables. There are scribbled notes in countless journals, lists of ideas, lists of things to do, endless lists of color combinations to try. There are shelves full of supplies, nothing is thrown away because there will be a day when that egg tempura kit is used when that box of ribbons is necessary when four staplers aren’t quite enough. It’s difficult to find a place to sit and make and yet that is precisely what this space is for. It is a place that brings joy, a place to exercise one’s voice, a place to think, a place to make.

What inspires you to make art?

There’s something about each one of us that lends ourselves to a story. My work is inspired by and draws from the narrative; a personal form of storytelling that helps us to make sense of the everyday, of the societal patterns we see and the relationships we experience. My intent is to blur the distinctions between our perceptions of reality and our creations within it. The color palettes used subvert the viewer’s idea of emotion; centering on themes such as loneliness, solitude, and voyeurism and showcasing these emotions in the bright powerful hues in which we feel them.

Several sources of stylistic influence are visible in my work from Japanese woodblock prints to the poster designs of the Art Nouveau to the paintings of Henri Matisse to the films of Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola, and Wong Kar-Wai.

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