Monday, January 7, 2013

Meet Lexi Zotov, AFH Featured Young Artist!

Meet Lexi Zotov! 

Happy 2013!! To begin the year, AFH proudly introduces our Featured Young Artist for January -  Lexi Zotov! Lexi has been an AFH paid apprentice for the past three years and has established herself as a very talented and accomplished sculptor, graphic designer, fashion guru and creative writer. Get to know her in the interview below, and check out her thoughtful designs and daring sculptures. 

AFH: What is your "given name"? What do you like to be called?

LZ: My full name is Alexandra Zotov, but I prefer to go by Lexi.

AFH: What school do you go to? What grade are you in?

LZ: I’m a junior at Arlington High School, as well as being enrolled at Mass Art. 


How did you hear about AFH?

LZ: An acquaintance had a brother in the program and suggested I look into it, and I am forever grateful that I did. AFH was the first place to ever tell me that I could be an artist and not be a failure. Unfortunately, we live in a society that constantly knocks down the importance of art. AFH launched my realization that art could be a career and has supported me through the difficulties of graduating early and getting my art school applications and portfolio together. 

Lexi uses the computer as her palette to create  website graphics, brand logos, and typographical designs!

AFH: You are currently working in the AFH Graphic Design studio. Have you worked in any other studios? 

LZ: Graphic Design is my main focus, but I have spent some time moonlighting certain trash fashion projects with the 3-D design studio. As a graphic artist, I find it very beneficial to take some time away from computers, and work with my hands.
 The things you learn in one studio will be applicable in the other.

AFH: You visited Russia recently.  What was the reason for your trip?   What is the art like in Russia? Was there anything particularly inspiring or moving that you will never forget?

LZ: My parents immigrated to Boston after the fall of the Soviet Union, and this trip was the first time that either of them had returned to Russia in 20 years. This trip allowed me the opportunity to explore, experience, and become immersed in the rich Russian culture. I spent the majority of my trip in St. Petersburg at the Hermitage Museum. I would come in when it opened and leave as they were closing for the evening. Their collection is immense—one could be there for days and never see the same piece twice!

AFH: You've mentioned an interest in typography. What are some of your favorite type-faces?  How do you pick a type-face?

LZ: I consider typography the bridge between words and art. The layout of text is something that we encounter everyday, but is under appreciated. There are so many types of fonts and texts and layouts! It's hard for me to choose, but I always have type in either Helvetica Neue or Georgia or else I go crazy. It makes me feel good when things are nicely designed, so I try to incorporate that into my everyday life. Each type face is unique to its particular case (bad pun) so it's always up to the discretion of the designer to determine which fits it the best and why. 

AFH: What would be your dream job?

LZ: My dream job would be to curate a trendy art gallery and work with local artists to provide a contemporary space to display their work. Throughout my years at AFH, one of the most important observations  is how art brings people together. I would like to continue cultivating this passion so that many others can start to understand the true power of art.

AFH: Where do you want to go to school after high school and what do you want to study?

LZ: I would like to study art history and arts administration while getting my teaching degree. I'd really like to open a gallery some day, but if that doesn't work out, I would like to teach high school history. High school was really difficult for me, and it would have been nice if I had had a teacher I felt like I could trust or rely on a little more for moral support. History is such a fascinating, broad topic, but depending on how it’s taught, it can be dry and dull. My goal would be to liven it up a little. History can be fun! At this point, it's all about which school would be willing to take a chance on me. I really hope that some quality school finds me appealing and sees a spark in me.

Selling is a skill Lexi has developed at AFH events like our December "Greatest Gifts on Earth" Holiday Sale and Party.

AFH: What inspired the holiday cards you designed for AFH's recent Greatest Gifts on Earth Holiday Sale?

LZ: A few weeks before the Greatest Gifts on Earth Sale, I was at home playing Mad Libs with my little sister and struggling with the idea of how to personalize a holiday card. Then, as I was filling out the missing adjective, it struck me: Why not have the flexibility to put whatever adjective you're feeling like on a card? I then wrote up a bunch of potential holiday phrases, cut a few words out and then arranged it nicely. 

Holiday cards designed by Lexi.

AFH: You’ve made quite a few impressive sculptures at AFH, like the installation at the 7th Annual Greatest Party on Earth in 2011. Can you describe it?  How long did it take you to build it?

LZ: For the 7th annual GPOE, I made a trash installation out of found objects. For weeks, we collected the objects we needed. It included a 20ft net woven out of six-pack holders and held together by zipties which was then suspended in the air. We filled this net with about 5,000 water bottles which we then lit up. Without the help of my team, I wouldn't have been able to finish it on time. Large scale installation is a beautiful realm that I'd most certainly love to do, but it’s difficult to do it by yourself in terms of time, size and space. I can't wait to have more opportunities to work with a large area and have the freedom to utilize it in whatever way possible. Installation is one of my favorite types of art because it allows you to get messy. Graphic Design is relatively constricting in the sense that you're usually confined to the parameters of a client and find yourself sitting behind a computer for hours. I easily get itchy—I have to constantly be making something I can touch, scribble and feel all over.

Lexi goes from design to hanging a sculpture made entirely from recycled plastic bottles and zip ties for our '11 GPOE to honor Earth Day.

Lexi designed this amazing hanging sculpture piece made entirely out of recycled plastic bottles and zip ties for our 2011 GPOE.

AFH: Are there any artists whose work you like or that inspires you?

LZ: I have very very many! Some of my favorite artists include Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali,  Felician Rops, Damien Hirst, Man Ray, Edward Gory, Yayoi Kusama, Albrecht Dürer, Artemisia Gentileschi,  Yves Klien, Kehinde Wiley, Francisco Goya, Marina Abramovic,  and Alphonse Mucha. I'm a fan of pretty much everything, no specific time or era. The thought process behind the art is important too, so I lean towards a lot of conceptual, abstracted work.

AFH: What was the hardest part about designing the Vitamin Water Dress?
LZ: The hardest part was working in the time crunch…we found out two weeks before Boston Fashion Week that we had the slot.   Even though the  timing was tight, pretty much the only thing you do when you have an opportunity like that is run with it and hope for the best! Luckily I was working with a fantastic team and we were able to finish it on time.

AFH: Would you want to study fashion?
Fashion is something I'm always going to keep in my heart. I don't need to professionally go into it to keep it alive. Currently, I don't have the time to focus on it which is really unfortunate because fashion makes me very very very happy. As I grow older, hopefully I'll have more flexibility in terms of schooling and have the time to hone in on what I really love. AFH gave me a scholarship to a fantastic class at the Boston School of Fashion Design, which really gave me the lowdown of what needs to happen if I truly decide to commit to making fashion design my profession. I don't think I could function right without it-I'd feel like a goldfish out of water. It is not yet the right moment for me to approach the fashion industry, but once I am able to truly dedicate myself and give it the passion it deserves, who knows where I'll go with it?

Lexi modeling the Vitamin Water Bottle Dress she helped create from the plastic bottles and labels. The dress was commissioned  by Vitamin Water and Boston Magazine for the 2011 Boston Fashion Week. To see how the dress was made, stop by AFH-The Store in historic Faneuil Hall where the manikin wearing it, has become a popular photo-op.

Lexi and the other AFH design team that helped create this amazing eco-friendly dress! For more info on how it was made, click here

Want more? Stay in touch with our Facebook page for more awesome artists, events, and fashion statements coming from AFH in 2013! 

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