We are proud to announce the newest member of the 1xRUN team, California born and bred artist Jonny Alexander who joins as us as 1xRUN’s In-House Master Printer. Take a look at several recent hand-pulled screen print editions from Jason Botkin, Lauren YS and Ciler to check out Alexander’s latest contributions. Working closely with each artist Alexander put his own unique flair with each edition and worked closely with the artist to make each print come to life in the 1xRUN printshop.
Studying at California State University in Chico, California Alexander majored in print making and since then has found his own unique voice with his printing, murals and paintings. In his personal work multi-dimensional layers of earth with a surrealist twist leave the viewer with plenty to digest. Each print he pulls is layered with precision, with originality and life spilling out of every piece. Taking part in multiple group shows from The Thumbprint Gallery in San Francisco to Fifty 24 MX in Mexico City, Alexander’s personal work has always shined in addition to helping others create their unique vision.
We are excited to present this showcase from our newest team member and are excited to continue to unveil more of the unique screen prints from the 1xRUN Print Shop. Read on as we caught up with Alexander to discuss this latest showcase of work and more…
1xRun: Tell us a little bit about this series of work?
Jonny Alexander: This is a collection of pieces that gives a good overview of my approach to art making. It encompasses techniques in painting, drawing and various forms of printmaking, mainly screen printing.
1x: Was this series part of a recent theme, series or show that you had? If so how did it fit into that given grouping?
Alexander: Not in particular, it is more of an overview of work though. Some are part of a more recent theme, which would be the “cross-sections” of earth. This is the imagery that I have been doing in my mural work over the past year.
1xRUN: What materials were used to create this series of work?
Jonny Alexander: The most recent are done with gouache, acrylic and ink. This is due to not having direct access to printmaking facilities over the last year. I have been on the move quite a bit so my paintings in the past year are a bit smaller and done with my essentials (gouache and pen). There are a collection of older pieces that show a variety of printmaking techniques including screen printing, intaglio and monotype.
1xRun: Is there anything immediate you would like us to highlight?
Jonny Alexander: The first piece, “Crawl Out to Meet the Untamed” was my final piece made with access to a full printmaking studio. It is technically a very complex piece. It uses both painted and drawn elements with monoprinting in select areas. A monoprint is a form of printmaking where the image or color is applied to a surface such as plexiglass and then is transferred by way of printing press onto the piece. The mono part implies that the image can only be printed once.
1xRun: Tell us a bit about your process and how the idea and execution comes about for your work?
Jonny Alexander: I really like thumbnails. Not the things on your hand, but little mini drawings that help build the composition. It is always fun for me to run through a handful of little thumbnail sketches and then get into the final piece. Many things change throughout the process, but I like looking back at that initial idea as a small idea. I also have this thing were ideas and themes will come into my head and swirl around a bit and then they go and sit off in a corner that I can’t find. Then months later, like when you randomly remember a dream, the idea will resurface and be re-contextualized to my current frame of mind and will find it’s home in a painting.
1xRun: If you could take a guess, what is it about your work that you feel resonates with people?
Jonny Alexander: I can’t put my finger on it cause it’s always a crap shoot what people like, but if I had to say something, I would say the color and the detail. I love using blends and you can usually find them in a big open sky in my pieces. I think there is something soothing to humans to see a nice smooth color blend, if you don’t like a bright blazing sunset or a cool calm sunrise I think there maybe something wrong, and you may want to consult your physician. But maybe that’s just what I like. Maybe people are drawn to the detail. I was once told I have a “Fear of the Void”, that I don’t let any part of my paintings go untouched. Possibly people like getting in there and seeing the details.
1xRun: If you could sum up this collection of work in one gut reactionary word, what would it be?
Jonny Alexander: Psychedelic-Landscape
1xRun: When did you first start making art?
Jonny Alexander: My older brother would draw and a friend of his did graffiti so I would follow them around and slap labels and tag with streakers and paint pens, and that got me interested. I got chased by police a couple times and got punched in the face at a park so I took to drawing in sketchbooks instead. Instead of drawing letters I started drawing patterns, weird faces, and developed a kind of “automatic” style of approaching a drawing with no intent in mind, letting the drawing develop on it’s own. I became good friends with two guys my first year of high school, Drew and Jim and they both were into drawing. So we spent hours and hours skateboarding, smoking pot and drawing in our sketchbooks with a thin sharpie and a thick sharpie. And now I’m here.
1xRun: Do you remember what your first piece was?
Jonny Alexander: I actually came across what might have been my first “piece” recently. It is about 4x6inches, an oil painting I made as a child in my grandma’s backyard. It was a straight across horizon line very low on the canvas with a mountain and a big open night sky with a moon. Haha I guess I haven’t changed much.
1xRun: Which artists did you draw inspiration from early on?
Jonny Alexander: As a child I remember the illustrations in my Aesop’s Fables book but Salvador Dali was the first, followed shortly by Ralph Steadman and Rene Magritte came later. The Doors took hold of my brain for awhile, Fela Kuti taught me how to work feverishly and Caravaggio made me want to be a classical painter.
1xRun: Which artists inspire you now?
Jonny Alexander: Some of my friends, Celeste Byers and Aaron Glasson are always fun to sit and paint with and I love their work. I’d have to say I really like Saner’s work as well as Interesni Kazki. The narrative style and technical skill is brilliant. James Turrell is also brilliant and his simplicity baffles me, his work is truly in a league of its own. I know there is more but that is all for now.
1xRun: What would you say is your ideal environment like when working? Do you listen to music, watch movies etc.
Jonny Alexander: Music is the Weapon. Always have to have music, if fuels me to work. I also like a healthy balance of sitting at my table by lamplight and on the other side getting into a print studio and doing what I see as the “blue collar” side of my practice, working physically and executing tasks. I think I need the balance.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why?
Jonny Alexander: I’m not sure, but most likely Radiohead, because they are living legends in my mind and have given me many good times.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any deceased artists who would it be and why?
Jonny Alexander: “Early-man” cave painters, not to collaborate on a piece but just to see what the world looked like.
1xRun: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it?
Jonny Alexander: I’m not sure that I have bought any art, I have done lots of trades though.
1xRun: Any big shows or events coming up that you’d like to share?
Jonny Alexander: Of course the Murals in the Market, mural festival I am a part of here, with you, yes you 1xRun interviewer.