In our second installment of The Quarantine Journals, we had the opportunity to sit down (virtually) with our long time friend, Aleksandra Zee. A powerhouse of a woman, Aleksandra is an incredible artist, woodworker and author -and she does it all with incredible grace and style.
-How do you find solstice in times of uncertainty?
"It has for sure been rough. The ups and downs and feelings of fear are hard to keep away. For me it has been a lot of refreshing my home, spending time in the sun when it comes out, and luckily I have access to my woodshop. It has been such a deep relief to be able to work. The mess of deciding if I should apply for a loan or put artwork on sale has been a series of tough calls, but what really gives me so much peace is that we really are in this together. We are each feeling this way, and we can and should be leaning into each other. So many creatives and small business owners like us are holding each other up, though promoting sales, reaching out and chatting about business savvy moves and sharing every bit of love we can."
-What does your creative process look like? How has it changed/evolved over the years? How does living in Northern California affect your work, if at all?
"Right now my creative process is feeling the most different it has in years. Since I can remember I have been chasing the hustle, chasing the inspiration, taking trips to the desert to get inspired and cranking out new work. These past two years with the publishing of my book and new body of work left me feeling very depleted and completely void of inspiration at the end of such a wild time of constant output. Before all of this Covid-19 April and May were reserved for studio time just for making new work, no commissions, just study and creating time. That time is here and I do not feel led to make anything new. I have been feeling guilty and questioning why I wasn't excited to make something brand new. I have been wrestling with it for the past months , and through wrestling I have found a resounding peace that it is ok to just be right now. It is ok to rest, the work will come when it needs to, pushing it will only yield fake bullshit. So I am taking this time to rest my creativity, make work that pays the bills and not be too hard on myself."
Aleksandra at her studio in Oakland
-What is your favorite/least favorite thing about being an artist?
"Favorite thing, inspiration hitting whenever it wants and being on my own schedule to be available for that inspiration and creation time. Least fav, the pressure to put out new work."
-Who are some of your current favorite artists/writers/makers/people that inspired you?
"Katie Gong, longtime best friend and incredible sculpture. Her work always blows me away. Her way of life and creative processes always challenges me to create and make work that I am proud of. I am currently reading Ruthie Linsey's book There I Am and I am profoundly inspired by this human that has transformed her entire life into one of deep love, joy and connection. Mery Pataky, my dear friend and neon artist. Her work, her views on the creation process, the way in which she supports other artists and her hustle are so inspiring to me. You Jemma, I have been your good friend for a while now, gotten an intimate look into your process and what it takes to create the pieces you do. You are always so inspired, creating things before the trend even hits, you are a powerhouse and I am constantly in awe of you."
Aleksandra in her backyard.
"Lots of wine! Antrom (my hubby) and I have been wanting to learn how to cook for a very long time now. We are finally taking the time to dive in. We have been loving just learning how to make basic things well, and it has been a time that we have been trying something new together. It feels good to actually be cooking, never something either of us were really comfortable doing. Then sitting down and enjoying it together, it's our new every night date."
-Current projects you are working on?
"Right now, I am slowly building a new line of functional sculptures, hopefully to come out in the summer!"
-Favorite mediums, methods?
"Wood Wood Wood"
-How has the current climate changed your perspective (if at all)?
"Self forgiveness of slowing down."
Aleksandra wearing the Muir Jean