We had the good fortune of connecting with Alex McKelley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alex, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I pursued an artistic career because I strongly believe that escapism is a vital part of life; it allows us to break away from ourselves and our own lives and put ourself in someone else’s world for a moment. I also believe that art can show that, no matter the subject or what the art depicts, we all experience the same thoughts and emotions. Art connects us to each other in the most powerful ways and I love being able to connect with people through my work!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I taught myself 3D art and animation by watching youtube tutorials and reading user manuals online and it was so incredibly challenging, there were many points throughout where I doubted whether or not this was something I’d ever really be able to nail down; I don’t have a bachelor’s degree and I had no background in anything tech or computer related prior and there were men in my life who were already working in tech and they all told me that 3D was “too complex” for me to ever really learn it. But, I knew that I had these images and worlds in my mind that I wanted to bring to life so I refused to quit trying until I was able to. I also studied a lot of photography, lighting, and camera angles and I like to view my work as photography, but fully digital; the characters and assets I model are the subjects of my photos. I like to create work that feels dreamy and fantastical, while also showing the day-to-day mundanities of life we all deal with. My work is heavily based in escapism because I want each piece to act as a window into someone else’s life as you watch them going into their own “escape” (some are reading, writing, watching television, etc.). My work is also highly feminine, featuring a wide range of aliens, fairies, and a variety of women because I believe that there is real strength and power within girlhood.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If I had a friend visiting, I would probably take them to one of the near-by parks because truly my favorite way to spend a free afternoon is taking my dog on a long walk and really just soaking in the sun and taking time to look around at all of the plants and animals and people-watch. I’d also take them to Happyfun Hideaway, my favorite bar in the city! It’s the cutest little dive bar with a huge outdoor patio and every time I go I wind up making so many new friends! I’m an extreme homebody though so I’d really like to spend a lot of time just hanging out with my friend in my apartment, watching tv, laughing, and catching up on all life things!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would not at all be where I am today if it weren’t for my best friend, Alexandra Noland. She is an incredibly talented musician and the hardest working person I know; even just watching her create always inspires me to work harder and make more art. We’ve been friends since we were 18 and I can wholeheartedly say I would not at all be here today if it weren’t for her; she has carried and supported me through so many points in my life and she has the kindest, most caring heart. She is genuinely just an incredible person and she deserves all the credit! Her band is called Heat Death and her solo music project is Dope Clara.
The photo of me in front of my billboard was taken by Alexandra Noland.