One of the first things you notice about artist Alexis McLean is her intense blue eyes.
While much of her work happens to incorporate a similar color blue, the real intent is to portray a mood rather than anything to do with her personal features. A native Coloradan, McLeans earliest artistic tendencies were encouraged by her parents, who, literally and emotionally, gave her the space to explore her creativity.
As a student, she attended art school in Bellingham, Wash., where she studied drawing and ceramics. She later transferred to Fort Lewis College to study humanities and painting, the latter of which she came to prefer as her medium of choice.
After graduation, the emergent artist took a hiatus from creating and let her education percolate a while before determining where it would lead her. She spent time in Denver and the Far East, before getting back to art and eventually returning to Durango.
Although she is not yet represented by a gallery, her work has been seen around town in a variety of venues, including the Durango Arts Center, studio &, as well as on the walls of several business establishments. Her art currently is on view in a solo show titled Empowering Spaces, which is at the Red Tent, a womens healing center next door to the Discovery Museum in the Riverfront Building.
Most of McLeans work falls into the abstract or Expressionistic category, yet she often integrates figurative elements such as a womans face or torso, a raven and even fantasy creatures such as a water-born dragon.
I want to incorporate the painting process into (my) other interests; spirituality, herbal medicine and the openness of creativity, she said.
McLean pointed out that in some cultures there is no word for art.
Instead, she said, something that one creates is beautiful thats just how it is. (Often) the same word for beauty also means balance, so in creating beauty, you find balance within.
Many artists find inspiration in music, and McLean is no exception; the difference lies in the kind of music. Two of her favorites are Radiohead and Fever Ray, and it is easy to recognize the rhythms of their sound in the imagery of her paintings.
An introspective young woman, McLean continues to plumb the depths of her existence to define herself, her work and the act of creativity. She described her creative inspiration as a moment of pure acceptance; whatever comes out of your head, your hand, your soul, your step, your song, your heart ... art, beauty, balance, life.
It appears McLean has a bright future, and she hopes to evolve into a successful gallery artist. She believes that creative expression has always been vital to the evolution of humanity and therefore has set her long-term goal on being, as she puts it, a voice in the global conversation about reflective states of mind. I believe humans need (it) now more than ever.
Stew Mosberg is a freelance writer and has written about art regionally and nationally. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.