The findings of a recent study suggest that participating in arts activities can improve brain function and general quality of life for people in the early stages of dementia.
Artist Profile: Laura Alexander
“I make art because I love making it, and I just have to make art. It gives me an excuse to be myself,” says Laura Alexander with a laugh.
Alexander creates mesmerizing artwork using large sheets of pure white layered paper, cutting designs in surgical precision with an exacto knife. Her work evokes a sculptural quality, and she finds that when her work is viewed “people [would say] ‘that’s paper, really?’” Laura laughs at the fact that her chosen medium is white paper, because it is a huge contrast to her self-admitted messiness. “I can’t even wear white cause I’ll get dirty!”
It’s about the process for Laura. “I’m so interested in the materials. I want to push paper beyond where you think it can [go].” The many tedious hours that she puts into her pieces are like a “meditative process” for her. She puts it simply: “The world is such a crazy place, and I just come in [the studio] and I draw and I cut and it all just fades away.”
Recently, Laura pushed herself to the limit and was rewarded for it. After a curator got in touch with her, Laura submitted an 8 foot by 8 foot piece to ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan. ArtPrize is an international art competition where the top ten finalists are chosen by the public and receive cash prizes. Entitled “The Tempest II” it took over 300 hours for Laura to complete. Alexander was overwhelmed by the experience in Grand Rapids. “Over 160,000 people came through the exhibition. Every artists’s dream is to have [so many] people looking at your work but at the same time I was standing there for 12 hours a day next to my piece talking to people so it was physically and emotionally exhausting.” But it was worth it.
“My mom called me on my lunch break at work and she was like, “You’re in!!!”, says Alexander about hearing the news she was in the top ten. “I started crying.” Alexander was voted 7th place in ArtPrize out of 1500 international artists.
What’s next for Laura Alexander? “I had a teacher in high school that said you’re only as good as your next piece,” recounts Laura. “I’m always trying to be better.”
To see some of Laura’s work, check out her profile at www.columbusarts.com where you can also find profiles of many local artists here in Columbus. Alexander does not have plans for any upcoming shows, but keep an eye out for what she might come up with next.