We had the good fortune of connecting with Alexander Lesser and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alexander, why did you pursue a creative career?
I wouldn’t say I pursued an artistic career, if anything I fell into it. I was always doodling as a kid so I guess I was predisposed to being artistic but it was never a planned outcome. I immigrated from Mexico with my family when I was very young. Being an immigrant, having a career wasn’t an option I grew up thinking I’d be a laborer. I originally attended HCC with plans of joining the welding program and being a welder for the rest of my life. I thought that if I was going to be a laborer I might as well pick something that would make me the most money. Little did I know that President Obama would sign an executive order giving me a work permit in the form of DACA. It was finally viable for me to have a career but I wasn’t sure what I wanted since I’ve never had a choice. I eventually transferred to UH thinking of joining the Architecture College meanwhile taking art classes. I ended up joining the Sculpture Program in the Art School and graduated with a BFA emphasis in Sculpture. Now I try and practice my craft while trying to teach and inspire High School students. I think very few people are privileged enough to have true freedom of choice. Most people make do with what they are dealt.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Today I’m a sculptor and a High School Art teacher. I work on my own at home and try to incorporate that into my classrooms. This year I took over the Sculpture classes in my school which I’m very excited about. It was my wife who encouraged me to become a teacher. Then while applying for positions I met another teacher who was friends with the curriculum specialist in the district. I don’t know what she saw in me but thanks to her schools started calling me asking for interviews. The feeling of being pursued for job openings is indescribable. I ended up on the same campus as that teacher. I ended up taking over the sculpture program this year and am excited to share my passion with my students. When I look back at all I have been through I really don’t know how I made it here. I don’t think I could do it all again. I think it was 50 percent luck and 50 percent being afraid to fail.
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?
Assuming Covid-19 has been extinguished and in no particular order: Museums and Art Galleries: Box 13 Artspace- I was part of this art collective which is full of very creative people El Rincon Social Insomnia Gallery MFAH CAMH Menil Museum Rothko Chapel Sawyer Yards Food and Drinks: Dona Chela Restaurant- The chicken fried chicken with jalapeno gravy is made in heaven and served to you Taqueria Mi Charro La Casita del Amor- Taste like home-made mexican food Las Fuentes Refresqueria y Taqueria M&M Burger- Asian-American fusion food Luigi’s Pizzaria (There’s a secret bar behind a theater and next to a piano store who’s entrance is unmarked and under some stairs. I like how quiet and hidden it is so I will not name it.) Saint Arnolds Brewery 8th Wonder Brewery Misc: Any local park Star Cinema Grill- I love me some drinks and food with my movie I like walking downtown and finding new places to sit, eat, drink, and people watch
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 worked hard, day and night shifts. Went to day and night classes. Sometimes worked 80 hours a week while still attending classes. But I would be a fool to think that my success is my own. Everything that I have now is because of the people in my life. My parents left their family and country to give me a better life. There is a man that I never learned his name and will never see again that carried me partway while we crossed the Mexico-US border. My professors always encouraged my creativity. Obama who signed DACA and would give me a fighting chance. I had a great boss who let me set my own schedule to be able to attend university. My wife encouraged me to be a teacher and now I have a job I enjoy. The current teaching position I have now is due to someone who saw something in me and fought to get me hired. If I had to pick someone, obviously my parents for everything they sacrificed and my wife for being my inspiration to grow and better myself.