By Gussie Fauntleroy
Here’s a novel idea: Rent a motel room for a couple of days, hang out, and draw the room. “Unfamiliar places are exciting to paint,” explains Los Angeles artist Alex Schaefer, who created a series of paintings this way. “A hotel room might be boring, but it’s different from my space. I like the randomness of renting a room and being determined to find something interesting in it to paint.” It forces him to be creative: Schaefer might imagine a view of the entire room from the ceiling or some other angle not possible with any camera lens. Then he paints from that perspective in clean, simple lines, with rich, vibrant color and a strong light source.
In manipulating light and space, the 36-year-old is using paint to replicate the imaginative freedom of digital design, a field in which he worked for a number of years after graduating from Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design. As an artist for video games, Schaefer fell in love with the “eye candy,” as he calls it, of digital light and color, which can be moved or changed at an artist’s whim. Now painting full time and teaching at the Art Center, he draws on both the old masters and his digital background in imagery that ranges from interiors and exteriors to figurative work. “The common denominator in all the subject matter springs from something I find beautiful,” he notes. “It’s that magical expression of light.” Schaefer’s work is on view at Tirage Fine Art Gallery, Pasadena, CA, and www.alexschaefer.com.
Featured in “Artists to Watch” Janurary 2006