Alex Mason

Living in a digital age has fueled my passion for the tactile and handmade. For me, there is a warmth to handmade things because they have a story, life, and history that comes from the person who makes them as well as the person who possesses and cares for them. My story is similar to that of most kids who fall in love with art at a young age. Art was the only class in which I excelled in school and the only extracurricular activity I ever stuck to. In high school, I knew I wanted to be an artist, and I wanted to go to art school instead of college. My parents thought it was important to have a liberal arts education. So I went to University of Vermont where I majored in fine art and minored in art history. After graduation, I felt I needed still more training so I went on to get my MFA in painting at Pratt Institute.

It was after finishing grad school, while living in New Zealand in 1999 that I found the inspiration for my style of work. Paper, gouache, ink, and acrylic are my favorite mediums. I believe my works on paper reflect my greatest skills and experience as an artist. When you work on paper with ink, there are no second chances. Every mistake, drip, and color choice stains the paper and you cannot erase or paint over it like you can with acrylic or oil on canvas. Like the first footsteps on newly fallen snow, there is a special quality to the first marks on fine paper. When these marks enhance the paper’s natural, pristine beauty, the result is simplicity in its purest form. This simplicity is begotten by a combination of the artist’s skill, luck, and the grace of God. Paper, like snow that has been trod over too many times, loses its specialness. Too many marks of paint on paper will damage it or even put holes in it. My paper pieces may at first appear simplistic or decorative, but, like Japanese calligraphy, it is only through years of training and thousands of hours of practice that they emerge as real art.

My focus in all of my work is on color and composition. I am drawn to the free forms found in nature rather than the geometric and hard edged. I reference nature rather than mimic it. My latest paintings reflect the loose spontaneous quality that is typical of my works on paper. Accidental drips, washes, and splatters give depth, texture, and atmosphere to these compositions. It is the spontaneity and finality of the painting process on paper which inspires me to paint. The fragility of the mixed media showcases my every move with brush to paper. Ink to paper, brush to paint on paper, something so simple but more and more foreign in an age where technology dominates our daily life.