Studio Corner - a visit with Alex Blau

Alex Blau let us peak inside the industrial studio space she shares with her husband in Germantown, and see a bit of her process as an artist.

How did you end up at 100 Taylor St, and how has the community changed since you’ve been there?

Craigslist!! It went from being completely messy and under construction to filled with businesses. There are still a couple holdouts from the first year but many people have left including some really good friends.

How do you find the arts community in Nashville?

Love it! It has been such a welcoming and supportive community. We have been really fortunate to pick a place sight unseen and find so many great people to connect with.

Blau at work in her studio

How do you balance being an artist with being a teacher and a mom?

works on curved edge canvas

Uhhhh, it's interesting!! Now that the kids are in school full time I just head to the studio as early as I can. It does take some time to clear my head from the morning rush of getting the kids dressed, fed, and out the door. I usually arrive at the studio with coffee and do a little check of the newspapers, catch up on emails and get to work.

The pressure to make a few decisions before pick up has lead to some unexpected discoveries in my work.

How did you originally come up with the curved edge canvas?

I was intrigued by a stretcher bar that someone had discarded because they put the molding on backwards and it really suited me. I had always favored surfaces that were more like objects such as plexiglass or chunks of wood so it caught my eye. The slight curved edge allowed me paint on the sides which I really liked. From there, I started making them fully round and lozenge like. I really loved the object-like quality and being able to paint around to the wall.

How has your work changed recently?

Funny you should ask! It is always changing and right now I am smack in the middle of change. Don't ask me to explain it, I'm just trying to work my way through. Everything is looking strange and possible.

What inspires you? Other artists, travel, books?

Yes, all of it. Art, garbage, toys, and trips to the grocery store are some highlights. Traveling is great to see things without the familiarity, but I try to have that sense of newness throughout my day. I am always looking around trying to find unexpected connections.

What is the most important thing you get from doing residencies?

Precious time without distraction

What was the best advice you’ve gotten from a teacher?

Collect what you love in any way possible and dissect it.

What resource do you wish Nashville had for artists?

Affordable studio space and housing.

Any advice for recent art school grads?

Keep on making work and support your friends, they will help you.

What shows do you have coming up?

I am having a show at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Aspen this March titled "Rainbow Head"

Are there any challenges in sharing a studio with your husband?

Hah! No, not at all, it's great!

What are you working on that you are most excited about?

James Rosenquist

I have started a new series of paintings building on my last show at Zeitgeist. That show felt like a departure from my smaller more tightly controlled paintings. I am having fun making big moves and using my body more. The result is a wild bunch of paintings and drawings that are a bit confounding to me.

Who are your biggest influences?

At different times I have been excited by different artists … parts of their practice usually. Some recurring artists I adore include Agnes Martin, Andy Warhol, Eva Hesse, James Rosenquist, Vija Celmins, Sigmar Polke, Mark Rothko, Forrest Bess, Rosemarie Trockel. Too many to name, those are just some favorites, there are lots of contemporary artists as well.