Alexa Viscius is a visual artist/designer living in Chicago. She has been working for Plural since she graduated with a BFA from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2011.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I live in Chicago, I work for a small design practice in Logan Square called Plural. I’ve been with them for four years now and it’s been a great experience growing with them. We are a traditional studio in that we do everything you might expect from a design studio, but we are also encouraged to explore realms outside of design.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I like to explore other mediums as much as I can; right now I’m working on a music video for local Chicago musician Jimmy Whispers with my twin sister, Jessica Viscius who is also a designer and artist. Jessica and I, along with Drew Ryan, have also recently started playing music together. Jessica has a whole pile of songs written and I’m trying to learn how to be her bass player 🙂
What is one of the bigger challenges you and/or other designers are struggling with these days and how do you see it developing? I can’t speak for anyone else other than myself. I have to try to remember that being afraid of failing is silly in this line of work, we all fail, repeatedly, it’s part of the process. I think it’s important to keep pushing myself to new limits, even if I’m using some of my old tricks to get there.
How did your interest in art or design begin? I think my introduction to both art and design was through music. We have all endured the hits on the radio when we were young, I was luckily exposed to a lot of great music from my dad, who would play anything from The Rolling Stones to Aimee Mann in his car. I was exploring what I liked and didn’t like and then eventually forming my own opinions and getting hungry for more. I’m still doing that today.
How has living in Chicago affected your design practice? I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and have lived in various neighborhoods over the past ten years. I have a midwest mentality in that I am a hard worker. Other than that I’d rather not have the context of my city show through in my work unless it makes sense for the content and intent of the project. That being said, I do think this city’s scene is hugely supportive and inspiring and I am grateful to be a part of it.
What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like? Like everyone else I use a computer, but try to remember it is important to step away. Maybe the project calls for melting ice cubes on the scanner or photographing a turkey. At my studio we like to try to write things down at the beginning of a project, try to get initial thoughts out of our heads and onto paper. It is a nice freedom to say “I think we should try this” and be met with the reply “then do it.”
What artists or designers are you interested in right now? I was recently introduced to Barbara Kasten’s work. I don’t think I’m the only one who has recently been introduced to her. Her work with abstraction, geometry and photography is seems very relevant right now, though she has been creating work since the 80s.
What’s your favorite thing about your city? One of my favorite things to do in Chicago is to try and get lost, even though I’ve called it my home for a decade, I love when I realize that I am riding my bike down a street I’ve never rode down before.
What was the last show you saw that stuck out to you? I got to see Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians performed live in a beautiful, ornate, old theatre in Knoxville last spring, it was pretty transcendent. I also had the opportunity to visit Dia:Beacon recently in New York, it was incredible. I never even knew I liked Richard Serra before I saw him in that setting!
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? Best–No edits necessary.
Worst–No response after invoice sent and work completed. A girl’s gotta eat!