Are you an animal lover? You're in for a treat: Please meet Angela Alexander, an Asheville-based artist specializing in pet portraits.
Angela has an interesting process: She starts with a black canvas and then layers loose brushstrokes in vibrant colors to reveal the dog, cat or farm animal she’s painting. The bold colors that characterize her work represent her subject’s energy and personality.
Angela did not begin her career as a painter until later in life. When she was laid off from her graphic design job, she decided to make a go of being an artist. Her first paintings were whimsical drawings of her brown and tan Chihuahua, Sadie, whose markings made it look like she was wearing a mask.
Consequently, up until Sadie passed in 2015, Angela painted all her subjects wearing masks and glasses. Over the years her style has evolved from playful and often comedic caricatures of pets, to the more refined and abstract technique she uses in her art today.
It's going to be a gorgeous weekend in Charleston, stop by and see Angela's work!
Please meet a new addition to the Art Mecca family, Sonny Dugal. Sonny is a photographer, traveler, and so much more. His incredible work speaks for itself, but we did ask him a few questions about his background and how he works:
Tell us about your background: Where did you grow up and how did you find yourself in Charleston?
I was born in Rangoon, Burma and spent my early childhood there. Moved to India in the early 60sand did all my schooling and universities there, as well as five years in advertising.
I came to New York City in 1980 on an invitation to run a weekly newspaper. Less than a year later, I was invited to visit the Charleston area...never looked back!
After a few years as an Innkeeper / restaurateur / golf director, my wife and I opened "East of Eden" - an emporium for home accents gathered from around the world. A few years ago we re-branded as the "Charleston Knob Company" ( see www.charlestonknobcompany.com )
All of that serves to illustrate my four decades of exposure to design, decor and the visual arts.
When did you start taking photos as an art form?
In the 80s when I started exhibiting in a limited way at Piccolo/Spoleto and around the Southeast.
How did you learn and improve as an artist?
I have never taken/received any formal instruction in photography, but have been honing my skills and evolving my vision over the years. After working with lab professionals occasionally in print labs, and then embracing the digital revolution. I have been traveling far and wide most of my life, taking in galleries and museums, as well as gaining inspiration from two local master-photographers Ron Rocz and Jack Alterman !
What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
"Elsewhere" was the title/theme of my recent show at a local gallery and that embodies my vision of a subject - whether it is in your backyard and under your nose, or in some faraway place. Architecture, candid portraits, street photography, unusual juxtapositions are all favorite recurring subjects in my work. A different point of view defines my perspective.
What kind of cameras do you use?
I am not a commercial or professional photographer so I don't obsess over equipment. I never forget the best response, ever, to this kind of question :
A photographer went to a socialite party in New York. As he entered the front door, the host said ‘I love your pictures – they’re wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera.’ He said nothing until dinner was finished, then: ‘That was a wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific Stove.'” Sam Haskins
Where are your favorite travel destinations and why?
Many of my "favorite travel destinations" are places I've not yet gone to ! To me, the most wonderful places where I have actually been are where common people, religious architecture and natural geography have come together. Florence, Bagan, Quebec, Lisbon are among my all-time favorites.
Where is your studio, or where do you do your finishing work?
I don't have a studio as such. I live and work in my home of 27 years in the Charleston area, never more than 5 minutes from a great photo op.
What's your next adventure?
We'd like to welcome Alexandra Nicole to the Art Mecca.
Alexandra Nicole has two primary passions: painting, and the natural world. Growing up on an island, she was constantly surrounded by the beauty of the Lowcountry. Having painted her entire life it was only natural for her to combine her passions by creating artwork that reflects her admiration for coastal ecosystems.
Alexandra originally focused on her passion for the environment by going to college and getting degrees in Wildlife Biology and Fisheries Science. She pursued a career as a biologist, working with a number of species from sea turtles on St. Kitts and Nevis to feral cats on Jekyll Island, GA to shorebirds throughout the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Throughout her career as a biologist Alexandra had begun to develop her art business as a parallel venture. Although she loved the travel and work experience that wildlife biology offered, she always came back to her artwork. She felt it was a way to connect and share her passion with a wider audience of people. She is now a full-time painter and well-known name in coastal artwork throughout the South.
Alexandra Nicole’s logo is represented by a hand drawn mandala. Often used in Eastern religions, the mandala symbolizes unity and harmony. This is the root of what Alexandra wishes to accomplish with her art. She hopes her paintings will foster an appreciation for the natural world and inspire others to protect and conserve the environment. Helping others recognize the intrinsic value of wild things and wild lands by portraying the beauty found in nature is just a small step in the right direction.
It's officially Spring - time for strolling the cobblestones and sidewalks of the Holy City. While you're out and about, stop by and see Alexandra's beautiful new work.