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Meet the Educator: Alex Turner

We’ve added a new friend to the lair! Meet our new School Programs Coordinator and Art Educator Alexandria (Alex) Turner. Let’s get to know Alex in just six short questions!

1. Tell us a little about yourself! 

“I was born and raised in Ashford, Alabama. I recently graduated from Tuskegee University with a B.S. in Environmental, Natural Resources, and Plant Sciences with a minor in Visual Arts. During my free time, I enjoy cuddles with my dog, writing and crafting in my visual journal, and reading books.”

2. What has been your favorite part of working at WMA so far? 

“I am truly inspired by the WMA team. Being in an office where the majority of the staff are women is encouraging. My favorite part of working at WMA is being able to be in a comfortable environment that takes everyone’s concerns and ideas into consideration. WMA is a team I am  proud to be a part of.”

3. Have you been able to merge your love of science and art in your personal practice? At WMA? 

“Yes!! I’ve always known that art is a science on its own. During my first couple of weeks at WMA, our Education Director, Brook McGinnis taught me a couple of projects that she curated for the fall semester. After completing these activities, I became aware of ways to incorporate science by adding certain elements such as talking about a certain scientific topic before assessing the project. For example, the abstract origami seascape activity, we could easily discuss ocean currents and wave formation.”

4. Describe your artistic practice. 

“My practice varies, honestly. I usually ‘go-with-the-flow’ when it comes to creating a piece. Some of my artwork is influenced by movies, music, or the lifestyle of others. I’ll also use a photo reference from Pinterest or Instagram. My favorite mediums to work with are acrylic paint and oil pastels. I’m open to experimenting with other mediums, but I always find myself going back to acrylic and oil pastels. The theme that I usually capture is mental health. I went to a historically Black university, so coming from a predominantly white high school I never realized how many Black people and people of color struggled with mental impairments. So while attending university, I became really inspired by connecting with peers at my university and hearing their stories about their mental health. My favorite topics to explore are surrealism, post-war, and abstract expressionism.”

Below are some examples of her work: 

Abstract Artwork Made on canvas with Charcoal, oil pastels, yarn

Mac’s Dream, 2021, 24×36 canvas Charcoal, oil pastels, yarn

“This piece is focused on depression and substance abuse. When looking into Mac Miller’s discography, he often mentioned his battle with drug addiction and depression. I used my favorite lyrics from his song ‘Come Back to Earth’ from the 2018 album ‘Swimming’. The words highlighted in this piece capture the never ending loop of depression and substance abuse.”

Abstract portrait on canvas with Gold leaf, acrylic, oil pastels

Reverting Regal Gems, 2020, 22×28 canvas Gold leaf, acrylic, oil pastels

“Bipolar disorder is more than just ‘mood swings’. There are many variations of this disorder such as manic and depressive episodes. Mania exudes the highs of this disorder such as abnormally upbeat behavior, poor decision making, and an exaggerated sense of euphoria. The vibrant colors and gold flakes portray the heightened energy and creativity that occurs during a manic episode.”

5. Who is your favorite living artist? Favorite Alabama artist? 

“My favorite living artist is Carrie Mae Weems! One of the best contemporary photographers of our time. Her work is centered around Black American life which invites levels of contemplation and critical inquiry. Danielle McKinney is my favorite Alabama artist. Even though Weems and Mckinney exhibit two different art forms, they both capture the vulnerability and warmth of Black women and women of color.”

6. Tell us something we would NEVER guess about you.

“You would never guess that I am a BEAST at karaoke. I don’t have the vocal range of Beyoncé, but I do enjoy singing. I also enjoy international music as well. Some of my favorite international artists are BTS, Stromae, and Liniker e os Caramelows.”

When she’s not busy planning and prepping our school tour program you can find Alex leading the art activities on school tours and helping with various outreach projects throughout the community. Let’s give her a warm Educator’s Lair welcome…and let’s plan a karaoke night soon!