Today we’d like to introduce you to Nia-Alexsandra Wallace.
Nia-Alexsandra, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’m a fine artist born and raised in New York City. A lot of my work is self-portraits and they’re a form of therapy to me while I battle with my own mental illness and learn life lessons through experience and helping others. At first, I didn’t think I would be too good at artwork but my work has gained traction and has really helped people so I hope to create an art collective for Black youth to showcase the various forms of art they create.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It hasn’t been an easy journey at all, with having depression, in general, it’s very hard to get up and still be dedicated to doing the things you love but the warm messages I get from people on social media telling me I inspire them always gives me a new sense of purpose. It’s also very difficult because many people don’t take someone wanting a career in the art world seriously, but I love what I do. To women starting their art journey, I always say to be as unapologetic as possible and never be scared to make the rawest artwork possible. And of course, support other women!
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I’m mainly a painter and I focus on the psychological aspects of self-portraiture. I look at Frida Kahlo a lot and I always appreciated how personal her self portraits were and how it feels like we’re looking into a very deep scary part of her brain. What sets me apart partially is how far I go, I make sure each self-portrait has its own individual presence, I don’t think one self-portrait I’ve done even represents 5% of who I am. Each “prescence” has an ethereal quality to them that I can’t necessarily control.
Which women have inspired you in your life?
Frida Kahlo because I am Hispanic and I mainly focus on self-portraiture. I always appreciate how vulnerable and dark her mind is. Jenny Saville, I think she captures what it is to feel human most of the time, cramped, vulnerable, sometimes even disgusting, but larger than life and something to be amazed of. Lorna Simpson because she represents the beauties and the horrors of Black Womanhood and she does it so calmly with simple imagery and words. Her kitchen table series is a personal favorite.