1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Alexandra Bowers, people who know me call me “Lexie.” I am an Arizona native, born and raised in Scottsdale (not that many of us out there). I am a pyrographer, or wood burning artist. I like to work on red birch, which is a light wood, with a pinkish hue that allows for the type of contrast that helps me render my subject matter. With my artwork I’m trying to push the pre-conceived ideas of wood burning being thought of as a “craft-based” form of art making, into a high-brow technique.
2. How did you get your start?
I grew up loving to create. Whether it was drawing, painting, or experimenting with other mediums, I could sit for hours in my room and just make. I don’t think I ever made anything when I was young that would have my teachers or parents thinking I would grow up to be in artist, but I knew deep down that’s what I wanted to do with my life. A semester in at ASU I switched from sociology to the art program on a whim. It started with me wanting to take a drawing class, and at the time not being allowed because I wasn’t an art student. So I switched majors to take that one specific class. Thank God I did, I found my calling and never once regretted the decision.
I fell into wood burning about 6 years ago when I was meandering through the aisles at Home Depot. I stumbled upon a soldering iron, and by shear randomness an employee told me I could wood burn with it. So I left the store that day with an iron and some scrap wood. About a year later I was walking through an outdoor market in Italy and saw a gal with an entire kit, she was wood burning these ornate boxes. I thought man I could do that, but not with the shitty tool I have at home. So I skyped my parents and told them about what I had seen. With their undying support and awesomeness I acquired a professional wood burning kit for Christmas that year, and still use that same kit to this day.
3. What inspires you?
I get inspired by being outdoors. I grew up hiking and camping. My parents would take my siblings and I out of town for the weekend and we’d get a chance to see Arizona, beyond suburbia. That curiosity towards nature has continued with me into adulthood and is the inspiration for my work. I’m 25, so I’ve seen over the last couple of decades the exponential growth that’s occurred around the greater Phoenix area. With that growth what’s affected me the most is the destruction of the natural surrounding environment. So I think it’s important to leave the city and be surrounded by nature instead of concrete and cookie cutter developments.
4. What do you like most about AZ?
What I love most about Arizona is its expansiveness. I love being able to see hundreds of miles of open land while on road trips. I love how drastic the topography of this state is. I love monsoon season, especially the smell of creosote after a huge rain storm. I love watching thunderheads rise above the McDowell mountains before an epic storm. I love that Phoenix has an art scene that caters to up and coming artists. It’s a city where you can make a mistake, experiment, and not have to worry about it ruining your career. You can make a name for yourself here.
5. Where can we see you(r) work?
You can check out my work on April 17th in the middle “hot box” (shipping container art gallery) on Roosevelt Row. The show is all about moths from North America. It’s been in the works for quite some time, I’m really pleased I’ve had an opportunity to work with phICA, the ASU Frank Hasbrouck Entomology Collection and some other amazing valley residents to make this show happen. To see other work check out my website.
6. What would you like to accomplish before you die?
I was bitten with the travel bug a long time ago. My list of places to visit is always growing (and may never be completed) but I’d like to check off most of it before I die. Even though my work revolves around AZ flora and fauna I’d like the opportunity to live elsewhere for awhile, possibly abroad, to help grow as a person and see how it influences and changes my work.
7. What is your mantra?
I try to “live in the moment.” I’m really bad at it, like most people my mind is stuck a lot of the time thinking about the future… worrying about finances, if I’m pursuing the right path in life. Being in my mid-twenties I feel like I’m just now beginning to understand who I am as a person and where I’d like to see myself in the next 10 years. It’s really hard to just be present. So I’m hoping I can get better at that.