ALG Collective, an artist working studio and showroom, opened in May of this year in the Design District. The studio houses four resident artists – Anna, Annie, Christi and Melissa, each whom focus on their own craft, creating everything from glass art to pop art in the shared space. Their work is spectacular, and their passion for one another and their collective energy is unmatched. They immediately make you feel right at home (you'll know what I'm talking about the moment you walk into the space). Say hello to the women of ALG Collective.
Another interesting thing about these wonderful women is their commitment to community service. They met and connected with each other at different non-profit opportunities, and now they have a space where they can do even more of that. Together they're working towards the same goal and hope to make real changes in their community.
Q: What inspired you to create this space and to collaborate with these women?
Anna: I'm a bit of an extrovert and I really thrive working around other people who also are excited about life, who are talented and joyful, but real and know how to do business. Then I feel like the Lord blessed me with these women.
Melissa: When you have a very open concept, you have to be able to work in that environment and that doesn't work for everybody – and we all really thrive in this. When I look over at Christi working on something new, that motivates and inspires me and it's like a domino effect. My productivity level has shot through the roof just by being around these women and it's amazing.
Annie: You can feel very vulnerable being creative around people. Having the support of everyone here allows us to be more courageous in our work and in the voice we want to put out there.
Q: What is your preferred art style?
Anna: We all have a bit of creative ADD – but my specialty is fuse blown and sculpted glass. Literally taking broken pieces and putting them back together in a way that's far more beautiful than they could have ever been before. It's very cathartic and healing on so many different levels – and I also get to play with fire!
Annie: I do narrative driven pop art. I started out doing more Impressionist landscapes, but I felt myself needing to actually say something about what happened to me with my dad's passing. I have done acrylic and oil paintings, as well as pin and ink drawings – I really experiment and I do not hold back. How can I say something that is meaningful and powerful? In my opinion, that is our role as artists – to bring attention to things that matter. Pop art is how I am able to use symbols and colors to create a little hidden message. And the people who get it, they really get it and I know they get me. So that connects me to each person who buys my work.
Melissa: I am an abstract palette knife painter, specializing in sculptural oil paintings. I love a lot of color and patterns and texture, so I use a lot of different knives to create different patterns and sizes and shapes. I really am inspired by color and nature and putting that on a canvas. I'm very calculated in my work, but it's still very organic. From taking a blank canvas to laying out my background – I have to make a decision from the beginning about what knife I'm going to use because I can't change midway, but I like that. I sculpt all the pieces on the back of my knife before I put them on so it's very much a big puzzle piece.
Christi: I'm an abstract expressionist and my work is very 'go with the moment.' I do not plan my work out like Melissa, so I go with a lot of emotion and message. With my work, I want it to speak love and inclusion and grace into the world – that's really important to me. I love nature, and I love the organic work of color the message it provides when it comes together. I also work on wood which is my nod to nature.
Q: What are you hoping someone gains from buying your art?
Annie: We hope that when they take it home into their space, they really feel more of whatever they're looking to feel more of. Your home is such a sacred space, and the things that you surround yourself with dictate how you're feeling every single day. When you have art on your wall, it reflects some part of you.
Melissa: I hope they feel just a sense of joy. What's important to me when I collect art is that there should be a story behind it. It starts with you have a natural attraction to something, but because we have such a unique space – you get to talk to the artists and hear their story and the history behind each piece – it becomes something deeper than something pretty for your walls. There is so much deep meaning behind every single piece of art that we create. It's not always happy and wonderful, but it should spark joy when you look at it.
Q: Why should a visitor come check out the space?
Anna: Artists are magnets and having a space where people can come and interact and see other possibilities – we're hoping that it lifts you up, it changes your outlook and it makes your day brighter.
Melissa: Our space isn't a traditional gallery. People have this fear or intimidation of a traditional gallery, so we've created a space where everyone's welcome. It's a community that's not strictly for art buyers; we want people to come in, see our process, ask questions – we want it to be very engaging and interactive.
Annie: I definitely think with the social climate in our country, we have a lot of things that are very unsettling for people and this is our way to do something about that. We can't change policy, but we can create a space where we can link arms and say 'all are welcome' whether you're an art buyer or just an art appreciator – just get to know us.
ALG is open to the public every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (or by appointment) to check out the space and get to know the artists. And come for Third Thursday Dragon Street Galleries Art Walk and walk up and down Dragon Street from 5 to 8 p.m. ALG will also host a multitude of shows and talks throughout the year, so stay tuned!