This week’s Spotlight Artist is the Liverpool-based Alice Lenkiewicz. Alice paints landscapes, people and worlds from imagination. They are people she has read about from history and people she creates from imagination and appreciates from memory, history and folk legend. “I would say my style of work is situated somewhere between Pop and Symbolism. I prefer to generate ideas through memories of my own experiences or just simply allowing an idea to develop as I create. You could call this free association.”
Alice’s aesthetics towards the idea of creating beautiful images is inspired by the idea of mystery, which is connected to the Symbolist movement; a reaction in favour of spirituality, the imagination and dreams rather than naturalism and realism. To emphasise this, Alice quotes Oscar Wilde: “… the search after the secret life”.
Other sources of inspiration for Alice are folklore and art of indigenous cultures: “My work can sometimes lend itself to a kind of collage and retro folk art style inspired by my travels, particularly that of Mexico and Mexico’s artesania tradition, a blend of indigenous and European techniques and designs.” Alice enjoys and is fascinated by the colourful traditions and artworks (such as votive pictures), and the idea of a story to be told in painting, sometimes incorporating words. This leads to her love of artists such as Frida Kahlo, Magritte and Lichtenstein.
Another angle in Alice’s work is landscape, something that usually surprises people. “I was brought up in Cornwall and used to enjoy exploring. Such inspiring land and sea meant I could also go out and paint these scenes.”
Growing up with a father who enjoyed landscape and maritime also meant that Alice was inspired by the Newlyn and St Ives artist movement and this encouraged her to paint ‘en plain air’. “For years I have enjoyed painting land and cityscape from life. This is an important part of my art and I incorporate it where I can. In Liverpool I often paint the river Mersey, people and the parks.”
Alice is one of the new artists at Debut Contemporary. She is now in the moment of her life where she wants to advance to the next level with her art: that of selling and meeting collector. “I think it will prove beneficial in providing me with the right tools for the next stage of my professional career. Being an artist is extremely hard work and support like this is always appreciated and valued.” Alice adds that Debut Contemporary is doing something that is quite rare: “It has a knock on effect of positive momentum and provides artists with a strong sense of support. Having someone believe in you is highly important for an artist. I can’t express enough just how valuable this kind of support is for me.”
Alice’s ambitions are to exhibit further and sell her work. One day she would like to set up her own gallery space, and she would like to help people in deprived areas, particularly the homeless and teenagers. What she aims for is to provide them with a space for creativity and opportunity. Currently Alice runs an online gallery called TAG (Toxteth Art Gallery), where she has organised some exhibitions. The idea is to one day turn this into a physical gallery space and support the ethos.
Alice ends our conversation with an interesting fact, namely that she is a qualified holistic therapist!
If you are interested to find out more about Alice and TAG, you can follow the links below: