Artist Alexandra Grant has her hands in many pies to say the least. A multi-hyphenate powerhouse—an exhibiting visual artist, filmmaker, cofounder of publishing house X Artists’ Books, just to name a few of the pies—it’s not hard to deduce that Grant’s skillset and talent run through many channels.
After an early life spent moving around, Grant settled down in Los Angeles in 2001, creating the framework and home base for her practice and life as an artist, which included a stint as an adjunct professor at ArtCenter College of Design. “I lived in South Pasadena for many years, and it was there that I found community and developed the work that led to my early exhibitions at The Museum of Contemporary Art and other institutions and galleries,” says Grant.
With the arts close to her heart, Grant created the initiative grantLOVE in 2008, an artist-owned and operated project that produces and sells original artworks and editions, apparel, accessories, jewelry, and home goods to benefit artists and arts-based nonprofits. In addition to hoodies, tees, and totes, Grant recently launched LOVE necklaces, handmade in California and available in both sterling silver ($175) and 18K gold ($775). We chatted with the artist to find out more:
What was your path to becoming an artist?
My interest has always been on the connection between literary writing and painting, and though that part of the path has been linear, the path on the ground has taken me through interesting terrains. Playing basketball in high school and college taught me discipline and teamwork; it was through studying mathematics I explored pattern recognition and mapping; and work in design fields helped me learn how to make confident decisions quickly and trust my instincts. The great thing about being an artist is that nothing I’ve ever learned in any part of my life has ever been lost…I get to use all parts of my imagination and problem-solving every day.
What inspired you to create grantLOVE?
In addition to figuring out how to have the space and time for myself to be safe, creative, and curious, I’m also dedicated to doing this for other artists when I can. This is what I would call being an artist-citizen. I was inspired to create grantLOVE because I wanted to give back to the creative community and because I’m interested in new models of funding for the arts. I was inspired by Robert Indiana’s LOVE symbol, and the lesson learned in art history class that he never controlled his intellectual property. So I trademarked my LOVE symbol with the intention of creating a philanthropic brand. It allows me to work directly with [arts-based] nonprofits to develop fundraising and friend-raising projects.
What’s next for you and grantLOVE in 2021?
2020 was a year that brought so many challenges to everyone’s lives across the globe! grantLOVE changed and adapted too: in March we pivoted an in-store event with Oscar de la Renta to an online sale of prints to benefit Project Angel Food. In October, we opened our first retail pop-up shop at the Orange County Museum of Art to create the grantLOVE x OCMA Fund for Artists to bring more diverse artists to the museum’s permanent collection. My show of paintings and sculptures at OCMA—”Telepathy Is One Step Further Than Empathy”— and the pop-up will be open through early 2021. The pop-up will include new LOVE prints made in collaboration with the Berlin-based Spanish illustrators and artists Cachetejack. And in April 2021, my work will be featured at the Marfa Invitational Fair in Marfa, Texas. That too was delayed from earlier in 2020 and so it will be great, as the Invitational’s Michael Phelan says, “to get the band back together.”
For more information on grantLOVE, visit grantlove.com