We had the good fortune of connecting with Alexandra Engelman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alexandra, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
Everyone knows that life is unpredictable, uncertain, and being a military spouse, it can feel even more so. We get unexpected news, we move to places where we don’t know anyone; sometimes to a new country, we’re away from family, or our partner gets sent away for extended periods of time without knowing when they’ll come back. I feel it can put a bit of a strain on your mental health which in turn could affect productivity. Your productivity isn’t what it most valuable about someone as a person, but for me it’s a key factor and validates me as an artist to an extent. Luckily the art community is vast and I can find my niche and sell my art pretty much anywhere; especially in this digital age we are all in. with online storefronts and conventions. On the other hand, moving from place to place can sometimes involve starting things from scratch; making new connections, finding a network, getting supplies, or even taking a break from art because you just moved and you’re still finding your bearings. Nevertheless, if being a member of the art community and creating is that important to you, it’s always worth it. Despite these uncertainties, art will always be a constant and be something I will go to for comfort and stress relief;even though it can be a source of stress itself. Having access to social media and being exposed to the overly saturated online world of art, I sometimes find myself feeling inadequate in my own skills. I do work hard to better myself and my art, but seeing art from some of my favorite artists sometimes feels like I’m behind. It’s not just the quality of their art itself, but can also be the quantity of it or their successes in sales. I try not to compare myself to others, but it’s not always easy and I feel as though I’m not the only artist/creative to feel this way. Whenever I feel discouraged, I have a set of affirmations that I like to remind myself of, but there’s a few that I always come back to: “Finished, not perfect,” “It’s okay to fail and it doesn’t make you a failure” and “Be patient with yourself.” I have a terrible habit of wanting my work to be perfect and that can yield a lot of unfinished pieces that I feel aren’t quite where I want them to be. It can be overwhelming and I tend to feel like I’m buried under the sheer amount of projects I have so it can be hard to be patient enough to finish Sometimes I have a hard time focusing on current projects because I remember the others I have on my plate so
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As an artist I aspire to find my own style and voice that sets me apart from other artists and be seen as an individual. I feel all people do, but like everyone I am always learning. There are many techniques and such that I’m not practiced enough in or haven’t attempted.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Since I’ve recently moved to this city, I don’t have many favorite spots aside from a cute local coffee shop where I like to get my fairly large and heavily caffeinated cup of cold brew coffee. The shop is called Sweet Beans and I enjoy the colorful atmosphere and friendly staff. They have beautifully painted walls that were painted by local artists and they sometimes hold vendor events. I would like to participate sometime. However, if my best friend had the time, money and could handle some jet lag, I would gleefully show them around my favorite highlights of the beautiful island of Okinawa, Japan. I lived in Okinawa for four years prior to moving to back to the states and I’ve definitely visited a lot of memorable places. From places to shop, eat, drink, or spend quality time with your favorite people, I have quite the itinerary. Like myself, my best friend is also a colossal nerd and into anime, comics and books so one of the places I would take them is Manga Souka. This jam packed thrift store is what you’d imagine of a second hand store, but with added
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
As any other flawed human being would tell you, one needs support, positive influences, and encouragement in life. Some may need it more than others and some just ooze confidence. I’m trying my best to become someone who sees the value in my work like others do. I believe artists are their own worst critics and I’m definitely no exception. There have been numerous times where I find myself doubting myself as and artist or just doubting myself as a human, but I owe it to quite a few people in my life to always be there to pick up the pieces and lifting me up. My family will undoubtedly be one of my pillars of support and my closest friends are also part of those support beams, but the foundation of my support house has to go to my husband and partner, Joshua. He is my biggest fan and also my cheerleader. He has been there for every tear, stress induced meltdown, and all the times I felt like I’m not enough.