The Creative Life in Our Cities: A Conversation with Pamela Alexander

We have many talented artists and creatives living and working in our Farmington/Farmington Hills community and this new weekly interview series, sponsored by City Life Realty, will introduce you to some of them.

Today we feature Pamela Alexander, current Farmington Area Artist in Residence.  

When did you first get started in the arts?

I first got started in the arts as a very young child. Both of my parents had art degrees. At five years of age my father was introducing me to simple perspective, shading, drawing, color theory, and more. They both encouraged me in something that I already loved doing. My dad worked in advertising and exposed me to artists in the field. Our home was filled with great art reproductions. My parents have been my greatest supporters and mentors.

Who has been a mentor to you along the way?

My training began in the home and continued from kindergarten through 12th grade where I was encouraged by my art teachers. For many reasons I was unable to complete my university training until I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree at the age of 40. Throughout this entire time, I maintained a studio in my home where I worked to create and show my art. Other jobs include advertising illustrator, hand painting blue jeans, designing men’s ties, buying and selling antiques, and teaching art for kindergarten through 9th grade. Each job taught and challenged me. I loved them for different and overlapping reasons, illustration taught me precision and patience, teaching taught me how to teach, plan and inspire. Selling antiques exposed me to art from around the world. Art can be a solitary endeavor and interacting with others enriched my life in many ways. 

Has your art appeared in any city programs or events, such as the Public Art Program at City Hall or Art on the Grand?

I have been blessed to live in a community where arts and artists are valued and supported. We are one of two cities in the state that have a city supported Arts (Division). I am showing now in the Farmington Hills City Hall, Public Arts Program and have done so for the past two terms. I had a one woman show for the month of May at the City Gallery at the Costic Center. I have had, in the past, a two person and one person show at City Hall. I am the current Artist in Residence for 2019 and it was great fun sharing in a pop-up gallery for Farmington’s “Ladies Night Out”.

Can you share a favorite quote about art or life?

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”—Thomas Merton

What advice or suggestions do you have for younger artists?

I would encourage younger artists to create, create, create.  Whether you think it is good, bad or somewhere in between you learn by doing.  Look at the art of others.  My art history classes and exposure to others work teaches more than you think and helps you to clarify who you are as an artist.  Don’t be swayed by artistic rejections when entering juried shows, it’s all subjective, learn to take it in stride and keep on keeping on.  Don’t let anyone discourage your passions. 

Why is celebrating and promoting art healthy for a local community?

Celebrating and promoting the arts is important because it lifts the spirit. It inspires, heals and elevates our humanity. Music, dance, poetry, theater, painting, all the arts are a form of communication that touch the artist and viewer alike. For the artist the process of creating fills a deep need bringing joy, fulfillment and growth. The viewer reacts on many levels emotionally and or mentally whether they like the piece or not. Either way it reflects something within us to feel or examine if we choose.

Everyone has a need to create in one way or another, to support this within each other opens our eyes to diversity as well as our common bonds. For some people it is a lifeline that feeds a sense of purpose when nothing else does. Ultimately art elevates and enriches us all.

I often give or donate art to charity or volunteer for an art event, I am grateful for opportunities given and want to create this for others.

Learn more about Pamela Alexander and her art here

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