EAC Friday Feature: Alex Staley

Friday Sep 15th, 2023

Copy of Interview 10 questions 2

10 Questions with Alex Staley

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Alex Staley

-written by Nat Richmond

When were you all introduced to Art? And, what impression did it leave on you?

I was introduced to art at a young age when attending the YMCA Kids Club in The Franklin Terrace (John E. Horan Garden Apartments). I also have early memories of my mother, Tiffani Staley, taking me to the Erie Art Museum. These experiences were very impressionable on me and have become formative parts of my artistic journey.


What's a work that has left a lasting impression on you?

One work of art that has left a lasting impression on me is this piece by artist Morehshin Allahyari that was featured at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NewYork. I cannot put in my own words the impact that this piece had on me so i have included the official description of the piece:

"These translucent, ghostly sculptures are reproductions of ancient Mesopotamian artifacts that were destroyed by ISIS at Iraq’s Mosul Museum in 2015. Each began as a digital model that was then 3-D printed using plastic. Because plastic is made from crude oil, the sculptures point to the complicated politics of oil in the region, which were shaped by the West’s colonial extraction of its natural and cultural resources, including the looting of artifacts.

After the destruction of the original objects by ISIS, Western tech companies promoted the idea of using 3-D modeling to recreate them. Morehshin Allahyari (she/her/hers) grew up in Iran during the Iran-Iraq War, when the United States sold arms to Iraq, and lived through the ensuing decades of US intervention in the region. In her eyes, this transformation of Middle Eastern heritage into Western intellectual property amounts to what she calls digital colonialism. By embedding her sculptures with memory cards that contain their source files and other archival materials but are inaccessible to us, she emphasizes that the politics of digital tools are not transparent and that access to them is not universal. For colonial subjects in particular, being visible is not the same thing as being free."


What's one word you would use to describe your Art? And Why?

I would describe my art surreal because I try to create spaces of emotion in my work.

How do you feel that your work affects others?

Right now, I don’t know how my work affects others and I think that shows that I have more to work on. For a while I've just been happy to create art for the sake of creating art but as I continue to have deeper experiences viewing art, I want to provide the same thing through my own work.

What is your opinion on the rise of A.I. generated Art?

I think the trending conversation about a.i generative art is just a trending conversation. Art is the one thing that you can make with anything, so we shouldn't discourage anyone from using anything they want to create art. 3D animation and simulation are generated works of art and there are still people drawing cartoons by hand. Also, it's not just about the art work, it's also what you do with it, what it means, what it stands for. 


Should Art have a limit or boundary? Why?

Art has no limits or boundaries in its own nature.

How would you like to evolve over the next 10 years?

Over the next 10 years I would like to continue to learn about and expand on all of the creative things I'm doing.


How does your Art contribute to the human experience?

I think my art contributes to the human experience by creating otherworldly spaces that take the viewer out of the real world for a period of time.


Are there any songs that inspire the creator in you?

I don’t have any specific songs that inspire me but the artists Beyonce and Donald Glover are a huge inspiration to me in the way that they juggle multiple talents at once. 


Any Final Thoughts?

I’m just happy to be able to create everyday and to share that with other people.

Erie Arts & Culture

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