Artist Q&A is a weekly online Alive feature that spotlights the process of a Columbus artist. Know someone we should talk to? Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Multimedia artist Lexi Dooley’s works are like physical representations of the reconciled fears we have as adults from fairytales we were told as children. Long, Grimm-y fingers grab at you from what initially looked like a soft, gentle cloud. The discomforting feeling they provide is gradual and persistent.
To make her sculptural paper art Dooley includes utilitarian materials like books, recycled newspapers, masking tape, packaging envelopes, wires, nails and other found objects.
Dooley graduated from Otterbein earlier this year, and Jontaar Creative Studios in Grandview hosted her first solo exhibition in its gallery space last night. We caught up with the artist for some insight into her process. See more of her work here.
When do you make your art and why?
I never set my goal to make art. To make “art” is such an arduous task. I’ve taught myself to simply create and to keep creating until I am satisfied to call my creation art. I don’t like to throw around the word “art” lightly.
How often do you work on creating art?
I’ve recently begun treating my art like a full-time job. I log my hours in every morning and make sure I hit about 30 hours of creative work a week. Whether it’s shopping at a local thrift store, working in my studio in the attic, or hitting up local galleries and museums, I try to do something creative every day.
Where do you create it at and why?
I do most of my work in my attic. I need to have a separation between my living space and my work space to be productive. However, sometimes creative energy hits me at the oddest times and mostly when I’m not in my studio and, in that case, I promptly begin doing some creative legwork wherever I’m at.
What has been inspiring your work lately?
Recently I have been inspired by vintage children’s toys. I’ve recently acquired 20 baby doll heads that I have been using as molds and surfaces.
What advice would you give a new artist that you’ve found invaluable?
I think the best advice that I have been given is making sure you treat your studio arts as if it is your full-time job. The moment you do that your work becomes real and necessary. One of my favorite quotes is by Ira glass. He talks about how at the beginning of your creative work, it’s hard and generally not very good. To remedy this you must create a LOT of work and make deadlines. Then your work will be as good as your ambitions.
What do you do while you work?
I listen to music. Normally it’s not very specific. I just like background noise. However, if I’m doing something monotonous like rolling paper or folding paper flowers I like to listen to Radiolab or have a movie playing in the background. It makes the time go by faster.
How has the way you work evolved over the past couple years? Has it?
I year ago today I would have called myself a painter. I worked mostly in 2D with conventional art materials. I would say that my work as evolved quite drastically. I like to repurpose materials and work in 3D.
Do you ever experience artists’ block? If so, what do you do to combat it?
I experience artists’ block more than I would like to admit. It is frustrating, and sometimes you’ve got to push yourself through the block and other times I take the day off. Everyone needs a break, and your work won’t make any progress if you are frustrated and uninspired. Inspiration can come at the most random times and it is important to grasp it when you can, but not force it.