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About Alex

Baltimore City

Alex French is a Baltimore-based artist and curator. In 2008, he received his B.A. in Fine Art from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC, in addition to studying with William Behnken, Michael Grimaldi, and the late Anthony Palumbo, among others, at the Art Students League of New York. After graduating, he moved to New York to work for the street artist SWOON for the installation/performance/play/flotilla entitled Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea. After years of working at the Art Students League,... more

The Industrial Life Cycle

A series in watercolor, gouache, and clay pigment on architectural plans, about industry's life after death in America.

  • Powerhouse VI, In Progress, Part 2

    Watercolor, gouache, and clay pigment on four architectural plans put together. One quarter of this is rolled up. Full size: 7'11"x5'11". 2012-Ongoing
  • Powerhouse VI, In Progress

    Watercolor, gouache, and clay pigment on four architectural plans put together. One quarter of this is rolled up. Full size: 7'11"x5'11". 2012-Ongoing
  • Neighbors

    Watercolor, gouache, and clay pigment on architectural plans. 15"x23.75". 2014
  • Study for Powerhouse

    Small study for a more extensive painting. Watercolor, gouache, and clay pigment on architectural plans. 11"x17". 2011
  • Powerhouse V

    Watercolor, gouache, and clay pigment on architectural plans, with the architect's original revisions and yellow highlighter. The scene in the middle is a view looking down from four floors above. 26"x38". 2012
  • Powerhouse IV

    Watercolor, gouache, and clay pigment on architectural plans. 13"x19". 2011
  • Working in the Pit, NYC

    Watercolor, gouache, and clay pigment on architectural plans. 32.25"x43.50". 2011
  • Powerhouse III

    Watercolor, gouache, and clay pigment on architectural plans. 25.75"x37.75". 2011
  • Powerhouse II

    Watercolor, gouache, and clay pigment on architectural plans. 25"x36.50". 2011
  • 1-Powerhouse.JPG

    Powerhouse I
    Watercolor, gouache, and clay pigment on architectural plans. Installation view at Creative Alliance Gallery, Baltimore, MD. In the Private Collection of Doreen Bolger, Former Director of the BMA. 26"x37". 2011

Olympia Series- 1936 Berlin Olympics

This is a series of paintings I made in order to delve deeper into my Jewish identity. Each painting is a closeup of an athlete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, from the film Olympia by Leni Riefenstahl. I was trying to see as Leni Riefenstahl, a pioneer in film, saw these athletes. I wanted to get inside her head, to understand how she could also make a film such as Triumph of the Will; to claim that as an artist she was just doing her job without bias, I wanted to understand this as a Jew and an artist.

Collage

Various mixed media collages.

Prints

  • Dear Ray Johnson

    Woodcut; handmade clay pigment ink with handwritten addition in handmade walnut ink. 10"x13". 2007
  • 1944

    ImagOn Film Intaglio. 11"x7". 2008
  • Chinatown Boy, NYC

    Woodcut. 13"x9.50". 2008
  • Provider

    Woodcut, edition of 22. 19"X15". 2010
  • Fracture

    ImagOn Film Intaglio. Edition of 10. From a collage (my own). 16"x12". 2008
  • Fracture, PTSD

    ImagOn Film Intaglio, Etching. Two plates. Handmade clay pigment ink. 16"x12". 2008
  • Aftermath

    Installation view, above a doorway; Holden Arts Building, Warren Wilson College, Asheville, NC. Lifesize Woodcut. Approximately 6'x3.50'. 2008
  • Chasidic

    Etching, aquatint, and crayon resist. 11"x7". 2008
  • Study for a Huddled Figure

    Etching. 11"x7". 2008
  • Creature

    Monoprint on telephone book paper. 11"x8". 2007

PTSD Trigger Boxes

In this series, I examine "Triggers" of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Combat Veterans. Triggers are all around us- the crowded subway, an unattended backpack, children playing with toy guns, the holidays. For Combat Veterans, these trigger an emotional uprooting and start a path of hyper-vigilance.

Each of the six boxes isolates a potential trigger, seen by looking through cut-outs in a forefront figure. I want to show how Veterans can acknowledge a situation as a potential trigger in order for them to rationally dismiss a threat they might otherwise emotionally engage.

  • Senior Thesis Exhibition; Installation View, Elizabeth Holden Gallery

    Six boxes faced in treated and plasma-cut metal; housing a forefront portrait and subsequent scene, illuminated inside. Installation view, Senior Thesis Exhibition; Warren Wilson College, Asheville, NC. 18"x15"x18". 2008
  • Guerilla Kids (detail)

    Portrait and scene are both pen and ink on paper, portrait is cut-out. Trigger scene seen through cut-outs in the portrait and illuminated from inside. 18"x15"x18". 2007-2008
  • Guerilla Kids

    Portrait and scene are both pen and ink on paper, portrait is cut-out. Trigger scene seen through cut-outs in the portrait and illuminated from inside. 18"x15"x18". 2007-2008
  • Suspicious Packages

    Trigger scene. Pen and ink on paper. 18"x15"x18". 2007-2008
  • Suspicious Packages

    Portrait and scene are both pen and ink on paper, portrait is cut-out. Trigger scene seen through cut-outs in the portrait and illuminated from inside. 18"x15"x18". 2007-2008
  • Crowded Areas

    Trigger scene. Pen and ink on paper. 2007-2008
  • Crowded Areas

    Portrait and scene are both pen and ink on paper, portrait is cut-out. Trigger scene seen through cut-outs in the portrait and illuminated from inside. 18"x15"x18". 2007-2008
  • Ruins, Aftermath (detail)

    Portrait and scene are both pen and ink on paper, portrait is cut-out. Trigger scene seen through cut-outs in the portrait and illuminated from inside. 18"x15"x18". 2007-2008
  • Ruins, Aftermath

    Portrait and scene are both pen and ink on paper, portrait is cut-out. Trigger scene seen through cut-outs in the portrait and illuminated from inside. 18"x15"x18". 2007-2008
  • Guerilla Kids

    Trigger scene. Pen and ink on paper. 18"x15"x18". 2007-2008

Sketchbooks

Sketchbooks for me are about getting that image down in the moment; recording memory, and looking back at a different me, in another place.

  • Woman at the Salon

    Study of a Woman
    Study of a Woman getting her hair washed at the salon. Annapolis, MD. Graphite on Paper. 8.25"x5". 2017
  • Anniversary Surgery, Baltimore

    One year after my accident I had surgery to remove some hardware from my legs, including seven screws and a 3" plate from my right knee, drawn here. I pulled the top of the bandage back a little bit so I could draw the beginning of the stitches. Baltimore, MD. Charcoal on paper. 12"x9.75". 2013
  • Self Portrait, Brooklyn

    Self portrait; drawn by candlelight, last night of Hanukkah. Brooklyn, NY. Charcoal on Arches Cover. 7.50"x11". 2009
  • Still Life, Baltimore

    Still Life of discarded flower centerpiece, drawn in Baltimore. Pen and Ink on paper, mounted on found wood from New Orleans. In the Private Collection of Anna Louise Cholet, M.D. Drawing size: 8.25"x8.25". 2010
  • Steamboat, Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea, Hudson River, NY

    This is the steamboat, one of seven boats/installations/sculptures/performance stages I helped build for the Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea, the brainchild of the street artist Swoon. These boats came down the Hudson River from Troy, NY, around Manhattan, and docked at the Deitch Projects gallery on the East River in Long Island City, NY for Swoon's solo exhibition. Along the trip we docked at several locations to perform a play written by Lisa D'Amore. In this drawing, the steamboat is anchored on the Hudson River in Yonkers, NY.
  • Lennart Anderson, Baltimore

    Lennart Anderson, presenting his artwork. Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Charcoal on paper. 8.50"x5.50". 2012
  • Study for a Huddled Figure, NYC

    Male figure seated on a bench in the subway. New York, NY. Charcoal on paper. 24"x18". 2008
  • Inner Harbor Marina, Baltimore

    Every day for about a month, I spent my lunch hour drawing this. The view is from inside of the National Aquarium, where I work as Assistant Director of the Gift Shop. Baltimore, MD. Pen and ink on paper. 8.25"x8.25". 2010
  • Building Trust at Home, Ground Zero, NY (pre-cut)

    This drawing started out as a sketch in my book but later went into a PTSD Trigger Box for my Thesis Exhibition. This view shows the figure before I made the cut-outs, which allowed the viewer to see the trigger scene through the figure. Pen and ink on Arches Cover. 8.25"x5". 2007
  • Female Shopper, Baltimore

    Female Shopper, Baltimore
    Female shopper; National Aquarium Gift Shop, Baltimore, MD. Pen and ink on paper. 8.25"x8.25". 2010

Sketchbooks

Sketchbooks for me are about getting that image down in the moment; recording memory, and looking back at a different me, in another place.

  • Provider

    The bold contrast of the forefront to the background represents the dichotomy between the hard physical work and the emotional struggle to provide for oneself or one's family, and the home you go to at night where those efforts pay off. This drawing later became a woodblock print under the same title. Pen and ink on Arches Cover. Brooklyn, NY. 7.50"x11". 2009
  • Spinach Patch by the Powerlines; Fremont, OH

    Conté on Arches Cover. Fremont, OH. 7.50"x11". 2010
  • Mississippi River, New Orleans 2012

    Gouache and watercolor on Arches Cover. New Orleans, LA. 7.50"x11". 2012
  • Mississippi River, New Orleans 2011

    Mississippi River, New Orleans 2012
    Graphite on Arches Cover. New Orleans, LA. 7.50"x11". 2011
  • Off the Deck; Columbia, MD

    The view from the deck at my Parent's house, which has since been aquisitioned by the State Highway Administration via eminent domain. Columbia, MD. Graphite on paper. 12"x9.75". 2012
  • North Howard Street, Baltimore

    Graphite on paper. Baltimore, MD. 9.75"x12". 2012
  • Out the Back Door, New Orleans, LA. 2012

    Out the Back Door, New Orleans, LA. 2012
    Watercolor on Arches Cover. New Orleans, LA. 11"x7.50". 2012
  • Marshland; Columbia, MD

    This marshland, with its once waist-high cane and cattails has since been chooped down to stubble like they just mowed the grass. This area is now dry and relatively lifeless, paving the way for future "development." Watercolor on Arches Cover. Columbia, MD. 7.50"x11". 2010
  • Woman at Mt. Masada, Israel

    Elderly woman, bundled up, among the ruins at Mt. Masada. A black line in the rock wall behind her delineates actual archaeological ruins and the archaeologists' estimated completion. Pen and ink on paper. Mt. Masada, Judean Desert, Israel. 10"x6.50". 2007
  • Cunningham Falls; Thurmont, MD

    Graphite on paper. Cunningham Falls State Park, Thurmont, MD. 12"x9.75". 2012

Museum Sketches, Studies

I go to museums and galleries like it's a sport, I try to see as much as I can; and when I can spend some time with a piece of art, drawing it, trying to understand why it's holding me like it does, it's like finding a small truth. It's like understanding another piece of the puzzle, something clicks. Here are a few studies of some of my biggest influences: Soutine, Bacon, Freud, Kollwitz, and Serra, for starters.

About Me

Here is a little about me and my artistic process.

I have also included some pictures related to an accident I was in on August 5th, 2012. That night I went under the last set of wheels of an 18-wheeler, fuel tanker tractor-trailer, while riding my bicycle. I went to Shock Trauma with seven fractures and a degloving of my right leg, among other injuries. I am posting this because since the accident happened it's affetced my life greatly. I have a small understanding of how lucky I am to be alive and have no doubt everything I have been through will have an impact on my artwork.

  • Senior Studio; Warren Wilson College, 2008

    My Senior Studio. Warren Wilson College, Asheville, NC. 2007-2008
  • Mural; CCAS, Baltimore

    "Flaw" mural, commissioned. I have been forced into retirement from graffiti, thanks to certain promises I've made and the NYPD. Spraypaint on brick. Charm City Art Space; Baltimore, MD. Approximately 7'x15'. 2011
  • Provider, Wood Block; In Process

    Carving out the wood block for the "Provider" print. Poplar. 2010
  • Aftermath, Wood Block

    Life-size Woodcut. Plywood. Approximately 6'x3.50'. 2008
  • IMG_0026.JPG

    Painting, Work in Progress
    Painting in the studio, Olympia series.
  • Bike Accident. August 5th, 2012

    On August 5th, 2012, I was run over by an 18-wheeler on my bike; this bike. One of very few sculptures I've ever made.
  • Skin Graft Donor Site

    They took a thin slice of skin from my right thigh and wrapped it around my ankle, where they did not have enough skin after stretching the skin on my shin over to meet the other edge. I wish I could take the credit for this awesome piece of surgical art. Shock Trauma, Baltimore, MD. 2012
  • Skin Graft Donor Site

    Right thigh with bandage, elevated on a pillow, about 12 weeks into recovery. Watercolor on paper; graft donor site cut out and inset 1/16" below the paper's surface. 12"x9". 2012
  • Me

    Halloween. Photo. Brooklyn, NY. 2010