On the Next Level is a series of interviews that features artists of the Art Nxt Level academy. The artists share their stories of how the academy has impacted their careers as well as share the exciting projects they have been working on. These artists have made the most of their experience and have taken their careers to the next level.
Today’s featured artist is emerging California painter, Laura Crystina Alexander. Despite being faced with several life challenges, she has used art and creativity as a means for healing. She uses bright colors, uplifting prose and positive symbols in her paintings that bring joy to all that view them. With the recent unveiling of her first installation piece, Laura shares her story and what it is like to be an emerging artist in today’s climate.
Working on the “Heart of Carmel” sculpture, what kind of impact do you hope to make on your community through your art?
Laura: The “Heart of Carmel” project was organized by a subgroup of the Carmel Chamber of Commerce called Leadership Carmel, comprised of almost twenty members. The project was created as a way to boost morale during the pandemic. Ten artists were selected by the committee to paint a large fiberglass heart sculpture, which would then have a designated location within the city where it would be on display through the end of August. A planned auction of the hearts is scheduled for the end of August to raise funds for youth scholarships. Numerous businesses within the community sponsored the project. Since Carmel-by-the-Sea, California is a destination and we have a large number of tourists who visit here, my hope is to gain visibility as an emerging artist while I participate in a community project to benefit our local youth.
How did you decide on your design for the installation? What was the process like?
Laura: The Leadership Carmel committee decided on the heart motif and sourced the hearts through a company in the Midwest which specializes in creating large sculptures for cities and companies. Local businesses sponsored the purchase of the hearts as well as transportation from the Midwest to Carmel. The owners of the company who supplied the hearts have family ties to Carmel.
When did you discover the Art NXT Level Academy and how has it been able to give an edge to your art career?
Laura: While working for a company I had a serious injury in the autumn of 2017. Due to constant pain from the injury, I fell into a very deep depression. Over the past four years while I kept working and dealing with the effects of my injury, I kept coming across Sergio’s Art NXT Level breakfast videos on YouTube. I subscribed and signed up for a couple of his free webinars. Throughout my life I had always been involved in some artistic endeavor but during the time of the injury, and due to my mental state, I had no desire to resume anything remotely creative. Over time while continuing to watch Sergio’s breakfast videos, I became inspired and started to paint some small works, as my pain level would allow me to. Painting helped me to take very small steps, lose myself in my creativity, and took my attention away from my injury and constant pain, albeit for a brief time.
When I had to leave my job in March 2020 while still undergoing treatment for my injury, it allowed me the opportunity to focus on my art. I then joined Art NXT Level Academy. Through the Academy I’ve gotten to know other artists and started to learn through Sergio’s vast video library about the “the business of art” covering topics such as marketing and exhibiting. This resource is absolutely invaluable and is culled from his many years of experience as an artist, curator and gallery owner.
Laura: The weekly Tuesday morning Zoom calls have been extremely helpful (especially during the pandemic) bringing together artists from around the world as we share with each other during the calls and within the breakout groups. We also have a private Art NXT Level Facebook group which is a “supportive artist community” in which we can share our ideas and projects, and get advice. Sergio has also created boot camps for emerging, mid-career and experienced artists to gain more skills at their level to further their career.
I would never have been able to learn as much as I have learned during the past year without the support of this wonderful community of artists and Sergio’s generous outpouring of his knowledge. Through skills acquired within the Academy, I now have an art website, an artist Facebook page and an Instagram page which is growing.
What about the way you approach your art career has changed since joining the academy?
Laura: I’m following Sergio’s steps through the academy as I grow as an emerging artist. By gaining confidence in my skills as an artist, I applied for the “Hearts of Carmel” project and was selected, which is something I wouldn’t have attempted before joining the academy. I applied for the project on a lark, not even thinking I would be selected. By having a website, creating a body of work and staying engaged on social media, I have gained credibility as an emerging artist. All of this was thanks to Sergio and the Art NXT Level Academy.
Do you have any additional thoughts or comments you would like to share concerning your current project or ArtNXTLevel?
Laura: Regarding the Hearts of Carmel project, I am deeply honored that I was selected to participate in this wonderful Carmel community event. I was given the opportunity to create a beautiful piece of art to benefit youth scholarships but it has also given me an increased level of confidence in my ability as an emerging artist alongside several other seasoned artists who also participated in this project.
I would encourage any artist, regardless of where they are at in their art career, to join the academy. The contacts, the relationships with other artists, and the valuable knowledge they will gain through this incredible artist community is definitely worth it.
ArtNXTLevel is made up of artists from all over the world. Where are you located?
Laura: Carmel, California is located on the coast, two hours south of San Francisco and six hours north of Los Angeles. Carmel is part of the Monterey Peninsula encompassing several small cities such as Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel, Carmel Valley and Pebble Beach.
To see more of Laura’s art, follow the links below: