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The Scarlet & Black

Art Chatz: Alex Schechter ’10

Alex Schechter ’10 majored in Studio Art at Grinnell College. This past spring, he was among the artists selected to for Atlanta’s Art on the Beltline public initiative. His artistic practice includes work in drawing, sculpture and sewn fabric. He currently lives in Seattle, WA.

What has your artistic practice been like post-grad?
The one really difficult thing about being out of school, at least for me, has been finding a space to continue creative work. When you’re in school you have studio space available, a physical space, which can be expensive or hard to come by. A certain amount of it is just having an impetus to really push yourself because you don’t have assignments or deadlines necessarily. I had to find ways to make that happen. So I forced myself to draw every day, no matter what, to keep myself accountable. The thing I did in Atlanta started with sending in a proposal, forcing myself to have a deadline, having something to work towards and have someone hold me accountable since I was getting paid.

So how do you view the drawing you’ve been doing? You’ve been drawing every day, right? Is it just an exercise, sketches or more of a final product?
Yeah, right now it’s kind of a thing to keep me sharp I guess. But there’ll be times I’ll have drawings, even if I’m not able to make larger stuff now, that I’ll be able to go back to and make stuff from the drawings, or I use them as starting spaces for other projects. And sometimes it is like a finished project. I think my next big push is to be able to be able to make more finished products—right now it’s more sketches and ideas.

In school your audience is generally your professors and classmates. What kind of venue or audience do you see yourself producing for now?
I would like to get [my art] in MFA at some point. A lot of it is submitting work to shows, trying to find gallery spaces. I’m more interested doing alternative art spaces, setting up ways to have installations that aren’t necessarily in traditional gallery spaces. I’m really interested in interaction with audiences, having my art not be as much of a thing that you just watch or just walk around, it forces you to physically interact with it in some way. Finding ways to do that in a more tangible way. That’s part of what my project in Atlanta is about.

What was the project you did in Atlanta?
It’s actually a continuation of something I started in Grinnell. I’d started with painting people on little boxes.

The piece that won Best-in-Show in the Salon your senior year?
Yeah, I actually wasn’t that happy with how the project turned out. The thing I was interested in was the interaction, that people would take those and put them in the world. That they would be more ephemeral, that people got to physically decide where they’d exist. So I painted an additional 200 of those. They’re currently available in Atlanta for people to take and place. I’m interested in where people put those and how they change over time. That they do get exposed to weather, that they do start to peel apart and the paint starts delaminating and the box starts molding and crumbling. I think of that as a beautiful part of it as well.

Have you been able to find an artist to share ideas and collaborate with outside of school?
Something I’m really trying to push myself towards now is finding a bigger art community. And that’s something I’d really encourage people, while you’re in school, you have this opportunity, you have a bunch of people who are doing cool things. There’s such a tendency for us to work on our own stuff and be isolated, but you’re going to have plenty of time to be on your own and do your own stuff, so take advantage of that while you can.

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