Young Artist Alexandra Grounds' Larger than Life Paintings Tell a Big Story

Alexandra Grounds

Photos Credit: Alexandra Grounds

Alexandra Grounds may be young, but she’s not afraid to get your attention regarding issues that matter. While still in high school, Grounds found a professional passion emerge from her childhood art hobby. Through her vibrant, oversized portraits, Grounds showcases the objectification and shared experience of sexualization that so many women face. Working with real women to create photographs and then utilizing her own unique painting process, Alexandra is able to bring her images to life on a canvas. Creating visual images of experiences and utilizing pop culture, technology and other props, Grounds has created a space for herself in the artistic world.

Alexandra Grounds

Attending a private school afforded Grounds the opportunity to forge her own path in academia. Although her high school didn’t specialize in the arts, she quickly ran through the core curriculum before creating her own and even a club for other students that were interested in the arts. The recent graduate explains, “Phillips Exeter Academy is not a school that focuses on visual arts … I created my own sort of art curriculum by taking independent courses in the studio. Frustrated with how little time was allotted to students for visual arts, I co-founded a club called Varsity Art … More artists were brought in and more students attended. The school gave me a voice that I was able to throw into my paintings.”

Now, Grounds is preparing to attend Columbia University but remains undecided on whether she will pursue a formal degree in art while pursuing other options.

In the meantime, Grounds has plenty to do through her process of creating the realistic portraits that comprise much of her work. As she says, “My process begins with an idea—what I want the message or emotion of my painting to portray. Once I have this in mind, I put together a photo shoot. I sketch the image onto the canvas using a pencil and gridding, and then the rest is just blending different oil paints together!”

Alexandra Grounds

Although Grounds is young, her path to being a professional artist has already begun from her dabbles in the creative world as a kid to discovering her core message from her friends and other young women that have had shared experiences:

“When faced with choosing a subject matter, I had an epiphany: if I could throw all of my efforts and emerging talent into a new painting that expressed my own, as well as my friends, feelings and emotions, I could become a catalyst for understanding and progress in my community. I could help other young women understand that they are not alone in these feelings of confusion and embarrassment and experiences of objectification and sexualization. If I could capture these emotions through strokes of my paintbrush, different hues of color, the glint of exhaustion in an eye, then I could help to empower these women again, bring these issues to light and advocate for a change ... I was going to be a visual voice for young women of my generation, and my portraits needed to be as large as my message.” 

Alexandra Grounds

Grounds' work reflects her social values and her goals of empowering women and challenging stereotypes that are so entrenched in society. Grounds explains, “My sizable portraits reflect my own life. They represent my thoughts concerning the challenges and stereotypes that I have been exposed to as a young female, and the new experiences I face every day. I want my work to be a voice that can represent not only me, but my friends and those without a voice. I want to help to empower women again, bring issues to light, and create discussion.”

Grounds is influenced by a variety of artistic influences from both her scholastic background and personal interests. “I would say my two greatest influences have been my art teacher in high school, Tara Misenhiemer Lewis, and artist Richard Phillips. Tara has given me so much support regarding my work, as she is a portraiture oil painter herself. Her work inspired me as well, showing me the power of portraiture. I first saw Richard Phillips’s work on the TV series Gossip Girl. His large-scale oil paintings immediately caught my eye through the screen and after doing my research on more of his work, I was determined to try my own. After painting my first large-scale, Grace Kelly painting titled Technicolor, I sent him an image and invited him to Exeter. Having my favorite artist to my very own high school and teaching my art classes was a somewhat surreal experience, and the following summer I got the opportunity to work with him and his small team in his studio outside NYC … His style greatly shaped mine and I am forever grateful for the chance to meet and work alongside such a talented artist.”

Alexandra Grounds

Grounds found her way at a young age and encourages others to do the same. She says, “Do it! No matter what situation you are in regarding school or time, if you are passionate enough about something find a way to do it. Even if this means going against the system already put in place, or disregarding the opinions of the people around you telling you it is not something worthwhile, forge your own way because your passion will lead you to create something great that no one else can. No matter what, passion shines through and eventually people will see this and give you recognition, ultimately allowing you to make a difference.”

Grounds promises that she has “Lots more to come,” including plans to hold her own exhibition in either New York City or Los Angeles and the possibility of up and coming album cover art.

Carly Zinderman

Carly Zinderman is a Senior Staff Writer for JustLuxe, based just outside of Los Angeles, CA. Since graduating from Occidental College with a degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies, she has written on a variety of topics for books, magazines and online publications, but loves fashion and style best. In her spare time, when she?s not writing, Carly enjoys watching old movies, reading an...(Read More)

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