Nathalie Maria Espelund and Tanja Anette Madeleine Silvestrini from Plot/TV met Alex Israel in his new exhibition #AlexIsrael at Astrup Fearnley Museet! Read about why sunglasses are important to the artist, and his advise to young, aspiring artist.
What is your background, and how did you get involved with the art world?
AI: I grew up in Los Angeles, where I was born in 1982. I started making art when I was very young; one of my earliest memories is finger painting in pre-school. I was always good at drawing, so I was encouraged to continue making art, and I would do so a lot in my free time after school. When I was in high school, I got my first insight into the art world. Once I had my drivers license, I started going to see exhibitions in Los Angeles on my own - and I never missed one. I began to understand that being an artist was a real possibility. I interned for an artist named Lita Albuquerque during the summer between my Junior and Senior years of high school. It was my first first-hand exposure to what "being an artist" could actually be like.
What is the #AlexIsrael exhibition about? Can you describe the exhibition in three words?
AI: How about two words: Good Vibrations.
How was your experience working with the exhibition in Oslo at the Astrup Fearnley Museet?
AI: It was truly great. I loved being in Oslo and working with the museum’s incredible staff.
What does sunglasses symbolize to you?
AI: Sunglasses are made of frames and lenses, and they change the way that we see things. They can both attract and deflect attention. For me they’re a little bit like a mask, or a security blanket.
Do you have any advice for young aspiring artists?
AI: A lot of young artists ask me about art school. I think art school is a great tool, once you have an idea, more or less, about the artist you want to be. If you start school before you know, it can be difficult not to be over-influenced by teachers and peers.
What do you want the world to know about Alex Israel?
AI: I’ve been asked this one a lot, and I always use Bret Easton Ellis’ answer from when he was on As It Lays: "Just that I’m a nice guy."