For a painting of a snowy mountain it looks really dark.
It is dark. It’s black on black. My current series is called When I Was Black. The series is inspired by my bigger mission of changing the climate of inequity. It’s what came to me. So that’s what I’m doing at the moment, painting about inequity and the climate. I am convinced that in order to change the climate for the better we need to resolve inequity conversation, and we don’t resolve inequity until we rebalance ourselves.
So with your art you want to change that conversation?
Exactly. As an “extreme artist” I paint pictures of landscapes in extreme conditions. All of my paintings are about the illusion of identity. I want to show that identity is not who we are. We are a spirit with an identity, not an identity with a spirit. In fact, I believe that you can really choose and create the identity you want.
During the conversation, Alexander switches backgrounds showing beautiful landscapes from all over the world with the artwork that he painted there. With every painting comes a story. He shows a painting in front of Mount Fuji in Japan, where nature interfered with his original plan of painting a perfect reflection in the lake. Another picture was created during heavy winds in Provence, and a third in the middle of a snowstorm where the blizzard was so strong he couldn’t even see the canvas.
Could you explain that a bit more? I understand that you paint landscapes, but actually your artworks are about human nature and identity?
Well, let me tell you a story. It happened six years ago in Japan. I went there to the foot of Mount Fuji with the idea of painting a perfect reflection of it in a lake, two inverted triangles – Mount Fuji the right way up and its reflection, inverted. I had everything planned, including a live broadcasting session of the creation process via Periscope, so the date and time were fixed.
But then when I got there, to the lake, and just wanted to start painting, I noticed the winds starting to get up creating ripples on the lake.
At first, I was not too concerned. I continued my preparations and set up the video camera. But the waves didn’t calm down. So I started painting anyway with about 300 people watching me. During the painting process the waves got stronger and stronger. It was challenging, because it is harder to paint waves than it is to paint a calm, flat surface.
Why is that?
Waves are difficult to paint because they’re moving. You have to slow your mind down in order to be able to see how they’re moving which takes a lot of effort and concentration. I finished the painting after about six hours. But I was frustrated as it was not the painting that I originally intended to paint. On the way back when I was walking along the lake I passed a Japanese guy. He was wearing a T-shirt with three words written on it in English, saying: “Don’t create waves.” This really hit me. And this has happened to me again and again.