We had the good fortune of connecting with Alexandra Kontrimas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alexandra, we’d love to hear what makes you happy.
One of my favorite feelings is sitting down for a painting and having this exciting feeling of “omg I have no idea how I’m going to do this.” I’m excited by challenges that I’m not 100% sure I can achieve. It allows me to be very present and active in the creative experience. Because I’m not totally confident in all the details of the task, it’s a constant discovery. I find the challenge extremely motivating. Whether it’s new materials, new textures, challenging lighting, something new – gives me something exciting to discover in the process. Although by now I’ve figured out the way to achieve these things is to 1) just get started, and 2) one step at a time. If some projects are extremely daunting I may do a few studies before getting started on the piece. This allows me to get acquainted with the materials, color palette, or some of the details that are new to me. The process of taking on new challenges creatively brings me a lot of contentment. When I come up with an image or see something that makes me thing first WOW and second ooof I’m not sure about how to pull this off, I know it’s going to be a great experience!Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My current work is focused on unique portraits and shadow and light. For me it is a form of appreciation for humanity and life, struggles and hope. It is how I offer appreciation for the beauty that contrast brings to life. I’m excited to continue growing as an artist and to see how my practice evolves. My journey as an artist has not been easy, but that wouldn’t make it very interesting. I’m also sometimes more motivated by opposition than encouragement so sometimes that works for me. I’ve been encouraged with the words “when in doubt, paint,” and that has been very helpful. Often times if I feel more lost and down about life, and I sit down at a canvas with my paints I’m back to feeling like myself soon enough. I take breaks when I need to, and check in with myself regularly to make sure that my work fits my values. There’s been plenty of drama in my past that has influenced me as an artist, mental health challenges, traumatic and tumultuous relationships, but it’s given me unique learning experiences that have built my confidence more than any school has.Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take them to lots of the amazing restaurants around Houston, there is a place to satisfy almost every craving! This city is unique and I feel like some interesting views help to fully appreciate it. I would take them to the tops of some of my favorite parking garages around town to get a good view of the whole city. If they have a bit of adventure I might also take them to some of my favorite abandoned warehouses where our best graffiti writers flex their skills. If they’re vegan we’d have to check out Green Seed & Sunshine’s. For coffee, most definitely Black Hole. After a day at the Science and Art Museum we could hang out drink super tasty Manhattan’s and play pool at Grand Prize. I haven’t been yet, but we’d totally have to check out Seismique the new interactive art museum! I would also have to take them by my favorite art/graffiti supply shop – Alva Graphics, Mr. Vito and Mrs. Alva are some pretty awesome people to get to know. There would also be a Galveston day trip. The historic strand area is super fun to check out as far as shops and architecture, and there’s tons of awesome murals around the island by Gabriel Prusmack. A day walking around East Downtown would be on the list too. Again, lots of street art and murals, and most definitely a dinner at Nancy’s Hustle. Sunday morning it would be a hard choice between barbacoa tacos at La Familia Meat Market or an insta worthy brunch at the Dunlavy treehouse followed by a walk around the Arboretum.Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There’s quite a few people both living and passed that have had a lot of influence in my becoming an artist. First, my mom Tamara Kontrimas, who is a watercolorist herself. She’s always made sure I’ve had art supplies in my hands from an early age and nourished my creativity. My friends Alyssa Alexis, Jose Arrieta Pereira, and Chico Guerrero who have stayed by my side through many phases of my art career and have always provided support and thought provoking conversations. And I am always grateful for the old masters who inspire me and help me feel connected to a larger sense of humanity over time. These include Caravaggio, Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Magritte, and many more.