Artist Collab Quick Fire: Alex Puryear
I always wanted Closet Chemistry to be more than just clothing. Sure, sustainability is a big factor, but one of the other goals of my business is the building of a community. That means hosting sewing classes, collaborating with artists, or contracting out work to create jobs. And that’s why I’m excited to share this interview with the amazing Chicago artist that I’m collaborating with to create some truly dope mini collections for the next year. I’m not sure if it’s the vibrant color schemes or the dreamlike themes throughout his pieces, but when I first saw Alex Puryear’s art, I knew his paintings would translate to some mind-blowing pieces for my customers. Check the interview out below and don't forget to check out the new items for pre-order in this year long fashion journey here:
Why do you paint the things you do?
I can’t recall how many times I’ve been asked that. My only real answer is that, as an artist, no one ever starts in their personal style. Look at earlier pieces from Salvador Dali, it wasn’t always surreal/melting clocks. So, I paint the things I paint because I feel it’s me developing my style, almost like handcrafting your creative signature.
What draws you to the things you paint?
I would have to say, inner visions would be the start for me. Mostly, the muse always starts within first, before seeking outside sources. Dreams, cosmic conversations, meditation, and music are factors that help me through the process.
Who or what influences you?
I’ve been an admirer of the arts since I could remember, but for starters, Dali, Matisse, Basquiat, but overall the state of having a youthful perception on things. I enjoy going to art shows and museums, just the overall energy gives me inspiration.
You use very vibrant colors. Why do you use these colors and what draws you to these color schemes? What would you say you're trying to express?
My palette is mostly based on the primary color family with accents of lighter and darker tones of the palette. Honestly, I can’t really explain the choosing of colors, unless it’s a commissioned piece. Part of my process is the use of multiple mediums of that same color (yellow oil, yellow marker, yellow ink, etc.) in order to grab the depth and perception in the piece. I’ve been told, in selected works of mine, that I carry a dark tone, but the vibrancy of color selection makes it warm.
How did you start out?
A pencil and paper. As a kid, I was always drawing, letting my imagination run. I started to mimic artist at the time, superheros, etc. Then I discovered graffiti. Spray paint blew my mind. I was in the scene for a bit, but nothing to be proud of. Later, I honed in on my craft where I would incorporate the different mediums that I admired and figured out a way to use them all on one piece.
What kind of symbolism do you use? Is there a common theme to all your works?
If you were to look at my body of work, there is symbolism, allegory all throughout, some are direct, skull, lotus flower, Om. While the aspect is base to the viewer. I challenge you to venture deeper - beyond the canvas surface and identify what each piece evokes within you.
What is your process to creating a new work of art? Do you have it mapped out before you start or is it free form?
The process tends to start with an idea, not fully completed, but just the core or focal point. Sometimes it’s discovered in my sketch books, while other times it’s free forming onto the canvas. The ingredients of that include music. Music for me is a connecting cord that allows me to bring up/bring out that emotion I want to display. Once the blueprint is laid down, I step back a few feet analyzing the piece from different angles, then I begin.
What advice do you have for a young artist or someone starting out?
Practice, Practice, Practice...keep at it, it will come. Disregard the distraction that may come your way, focus on your own lane, develop and master your craft. Not everyone will be a fan, and that's ok. Art is for the world to see.
I also noticed that many of your paintings either don't have eyes or have their eyes closed, is there a reason behind this?
Eyes to me tend to tell a story before it’s even read...the saying of "talking with you eyes" is so true...so in some of my pieces, pupils/eyes are not present for that same reason. I don’t necessarily want to give away the piece just by the eyes. Look at the whole picture/ embrace it all.
As far as the eyes closed, that's a representation of being in a state, whether calming, chaotic, or dream state. The eyes being closed is a caption of the surreal.