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Art. Culture. Life.

LQAF Gallery Spotlight: Alexis Silk

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La Quinta Arts Festival artist Alexis Silk works in molten glass and metal to create figurative work that’s timeless yet thought provoking.  

Background and Education

Born in Seattle in 1983, Alexis moved to Berkeley California when she was 10 years old. In 2001 she entered the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). She quickly identified sculpture as her passion with a focus in foundry. In addition to working at SAIC in cast bronze, she traveled to various countries to explore the more extreme process of working in cast iron. In 2004 she spent six months studying sculpture and learning to fire dance in Madrid, Spain. This experience was both exhilarating and profoundly expanding.

Her career in glassblowing began at Ox-Bow Art School in Saugatuck Michigan, working with glass artist Jerry Catania. Working independently at Chicago Hot Glass and at Pilchuck Glass School with Boyd Sugiki, she developed her glassblowing skills. Meanwhile, at Pilchuck Glass School, she was inspired by the sculptural work of Pino Signoretto. His work exemplified a perfect intersection of her passion for working in hot glass, her life-long fascination with the human figure, and her desire for conceptual expression in her work.

Since receiving her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005, she has continued to study under glass masters such as Pino Signoretto, Richard Royal and Boyd Sugiki. She has been working full time as an artist since 2006.  

Alexis Silk with patrons at La Quinta Arts Festival 2018

Techniques and Concepts

As a student of human form, Silk combines her knowledge of anatomy with her passion for fire to create female and male figures in cast metal and blown or solid glass. Her glass figures are sculpted free-hand while the glass is hot, without the use of molds. Many works incorporate steel frames or bases fabricated by the artist; some include found industrial hooks. With work ranging in scale to life size torsos hanging in six foot tall steel frames, her largest figures are close to half her body weight and take a team of six assistants to handle the glass while she sculpts it.  

Alexis enjoys playing with a tension of opposites: classical/modern, fragile/strong, funny/serious–with emotions ranging from anger to whimsy to love. In her work, the artist also explores the interrelationship of humans, nature and industry. 

Her winged figure series was originally inspired by techniques she learned while in Murano, Italy, and by the rich, classical and religious influences that permeate Italian culture.  Alexis is currently splitting her time working between Murano, Italy, and the United States.  

View her art in her LQAF.com Artist Gallery.