Aleksa is the epitome of West Coast cool. It started with her inkling towards the arts, namely fashion and graphic design. She studied in San Fransisco, at FIDM, where she really honed in on her eye for aesthetics. Alesksa’s one of those girls who oozes effortlessness. Her unapologetic self shines through in everything she does, from awesome taste in music (she’s a rock and roll babe), to her knack for whimsy in life (i.e Barbies). She’s just gets it. Aleksa is an ‘against the grain’ kinda girl and knows what she likes. Her style is exclusively her own, and she’s about as authentic as they come.
Tell us about YOUR LA? Any other place you would like to live?
LA has been a place of comfort to me since I was a child—I got my first scrunchies here and my first pogs here-it's where my mom grew up and I always planned on living here as an adult. It's the birthplace of so much of our pop culture, and I love the parts of it that have stayed steeped in that. Los Angeles is the perfect place to be if you want to pretend it's not 2016—be a 60s (or 90s does 60s!) hippie at Venice beach, walk upstairs at the Rainbow Bar & Grill and dance in a leather miniskirt like it's 1988…time stands still in every pool in The Valley. One great modern thing is all the weed shops though :P. To me, LA is the ultimate America, like the good kind. And the immigrant culture here is a big part of that America to me as well—I live in a primarily Mexican and Armenian neighborhood, and I love it. I could go on and on about the beautiful flowers and toxic sunsets but you can just read a Francesca Lia Block book. I think there’s a song about how no one walks in LA—well, I do. I have everything I need at the end of my damn block. That said, I love a car ride to the beach with some Van Halen on deck.
If I were to live somewhere else I'd want it to be a tropical, maybe South American situation or a journey through Eastern Europe to find my dad’s family. I definitely crave some jet setting. Or even some cross country trailer living!
What is your creative process? We can tell from your space that you like a good mess (we love a good mess), does this play into your process?
It's weird because I can't really start anything if my habitat is TOO messy, but I also work best spread out on the floor and creating a mess as I go. I always end up taking all my jewelry off and throwing it to the wayside if I get really deep into some work-shoes too. Snacks need to be around, and maybe a supernatural podcast should be on. I guess maybe subconsciously, a mess means I'm truly in my own space and I can reach my ultimate comfort to get stuff done. I was homeschooled until 8th grade so I spent my formative years really having the luxury of a controlled and zen—like area that I could turn into my own dream world. I am easily distracted and should probably be put on a medication. I really have to get in a zone to get things done. Which kind of sucks because I’m inspired like 24/7. I write down ideas all the time, and yea, speaking of messes, my computer is an incredibly unorganized mess of inspiration pictures and unfinished art. There is not an organized bone in my body.
You do a lot of everything...music, art, vintage buying & working at squaresville. We want to know what it is like to have your hands in multiple projects? What are the best & worst parts of the hustle?
For me, it’s the only way to get anything done at all. If i only had one thing to focus on I’d get bored and check out pretty quickly. I’m a classic Aries in that I love to start projects and kind of loathe to finish them. So having a few different things going on at any given time keeps things fresh. And I think they all inspire one another to a degree. I feel really lucky that my day job allows me some creative freedom, and endless inspiration from the FASHUN coming through. I also love to work with musical artists to help them develop their logos, art vibe whatever. Graphic vector art and actual real handmade illustrations are two very different things that I’m into, and also melding the two, so that has really been what I get lost in lately.
My main problem is there is really just not enough time in the day, or day in the time. I’m pulled in a lot of directions. I wanna do a graphic novel! I wanna make shirts. I want to explore animation more. I fantasize about creating a music project someday, but we’ll see if I could ever sing in front of anything but a mirror. I think performers are the bravest people.
What are the original influences on your personal aesthetic?
How far back is original? This is tough but a subject I think about often. I think so much affects us subliminally as children, determining what we are drawn to later in life. I was heavy into Marvel comics, AND Archie Comics. I remember being obsessed with the 60s as a tween thanks to Nick at Nite. Lisa Frank, Barbie. Magic the Gathering. California skate and punk culture. Goth stuff. Rock and roll and the personalities associated with it. Sound and Vision, ya know. All in all though, I just love juxtaposition. Sugar and venom, guns n roses, yin and yang. Beautiful fantasies and gritty realism. I think that has a lot to do with my parents as well-one being an artist and the other being a criminal. Hah! They both really taught me to appreciate things like poetry and classical music though. World music too. I take it all in and let it all out.
Tell us about the major points that influenced and led you to become the person & artist you are today?
Art for me has always been inevitable. My mom is an artist and was ready to assist me with all the tools needed for art since forever. And I’ve always liked drawing girls best, since day one….not always just to glorify them, but to sort of use them as a vehicle for a bigger picture with something more to say. Vogue editorials affected me deeply and I’m still chasing that perfect combination of surrealistic glamour, always with something a little off. I studied fashion design until I realized it wasn’t just drawing cool clothes, it was actually having to make patterns. Not for me. So I switched to graphic. I did sign work for years for Trader Joes—not the most glamorous art job but it forced me to draw shit i never usually would, gave me a sense of urgency and often left me surprisingly pleased with myself! Since moving to LA I’ve had a few shows and am hoping to have a resurgence with my freshly relaunched site this week. Moving here was a really big turning point for me in terms of starting to be more serious about art. Even though it’s more saturated, I also feel like it is taken more seriously here.
I just never wanted to be a “professional appreciator”, like she says in High Fidelity. I gotta be in the mix and make my thoughts real to others.
As for me as a person…. I grew up with a lot of angst, so I was always trying to find beauty everywhere-books, movies, music. Before the internet was the escape, all those things were. I grew up poor in a pretty beautiful harbor town, but I wanted to get out ASAP, and I did. After a few grim years in Oakland I lived in San Francisco, and really started to “find myself” as they say. I credit a lot to the awesome people I’ve known and met in the past decade—I have talented and genuinely good friends, and I think we all give each other confidence in our creative endeavors. Dealing with a lot of grown up stuff as a child made me pretty determined to have a comfortable adult life.
We can tell you have a strong sense of self and your identity, what advice can you offer to ladies out there that are struggling with going full force at what they want-- whether it be to wear whatever you feel comfortable in or to chose one path over another?
You just have to really not care too much what other people think. Even—or especially—your parents.
I always remember an Andy Warhol quote—I’m paraphrasing here but—something like hey, if you idolize Marilyn Monroe, don’t wear a shirt with her face on it. Put some fucking red lipstick on and va va voom down the street. Unapologetic is the keyword—just keep experimenting until you think you’ve found your ultimate self (which will always evolve). I've had tons of phases but they were all genuine. Learn to love your ‘flaws’—all the greats have them.
Another thing I think is important about anything creative, is that you kind of have to let yourself be vulnerable. You have to learn in public, and potentially fail a million times before you succeed. But usually, people will like you all the more for it.
Stay single till you’re 21. Don’t let money be what drives you. Don’t compare yourself to others, or to what you think you’re ‘supposed’ to be doing. Don’t get jealous, get motivated. Don’t waste too much time trying to figure things out.The world is going to end any minute so be as crazy or as chill as you want to be. I’m a jolly nihilist. Remember, nothing matters!!