By Sami Montague
The paintings of Alex Gross are magical, loaded with imagery both logical and surreal. His influences are equally mixed and unexpected, from Victorian photography to more modern Japanese culture but one of his ultimate goals is to create art that remains timeless. He talks to My Name Is? about the importance of formal art training, why he’d prefer to be the artistic equivalent of Pink Floyd rather than Led Zeppelin and his mission to ‘paint images that look like the dream you had, or wish you had last night’.
Alex Gross grew up in Long Island – a place he describes as ‘the suburban backyard of Manhattan.’ In 1988, he moved to Los Angeles for art school where he settled and has lived ever since. His earliest artistic influences were comic books and movies especially the strong visuals from science fiction television and films like Star Trek and later Star Wars. These interests led to him wanting to become a comic book illustrator but he ended up spending a decade working as a commercial illustrator – a job he found ultimately unfulfilling. Finally, through art school he ‘got some other ideas.’ His route in, as an illustration major, was not totally direct though. After high school he tried a year at a university before discovering it was not the place for him. After that, he went back home and attended the Art Center College of Design – renowned as one of the best art schools in the US – and a place that made a massive impression on him. He believes he would never have achieved what he has today without that education.
Indeed, Gross is such a strong believer in formal art education that he now teaches as an instructor at Art Center and delights in the fact that he has ‘seen hundreds of students over the years evolve into wonderful artists. The key thing about the school was, and remains, great instructors. I don't see how being self-taught can ever be better than learning from amazing artists. How to teach art can be endlessly debated, but I firmly believe that studying with good artists who are good teachers is always the best way to learn and improve one's own work.’
The FULL interview with ALEX GROSS appears in issue 6 of Mynameis? magazine - click here to purchase your copy www.graphotism.com/Subscribe-Graphotism-or-MyNameIs-Magazine.74.0.html