“I keep learning new things. There is no such thing as bad art.” – Muscogee (Creek) citizen and artist George Alexander
From Dragonball-Z to murals, Alexander talks about his art
EUFAULA, Okla. — In church there are things that you see that belong in it. For instance, people, Bibles, the preacher and hymnals. In those hymnals there are songs that the choir and congregation will sing.
However, in one particular church there might be something else inside the hymnals.
“There are Dragonball-Z characters, Old English writing and all sorts of other things,” George Alexander said.
Alexander said he picked up a pencil in the church pews and would draw on the Baptist hymnals with his friend.
“That was probably when I was in the second grade,” he said. “All the lettering and different cartoons that we liked.”
He said he is sure they know who did the drawings.
“They had clues,” Alexander said.
Alexander grew up in Okfuskee County near the Mason community. He was there until both of his parents passed away.
“After that I moved to Tulsa to be with my sister,” he said.
Alexander said he did graffiti all the way up until high school.
“I would tag a lot,” he said. “Mostly in parks.”
After being denied entry into the U.S. Marine Corps, he wanted to see what he could do with his art.
“I had two holes in my heart and that is what stopped me from getting in the Marines,” Alexander said. “After that I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do.”
He was told about a school in New Mexico called the Institute of American Indian Arts. He thought it would be a great outlet.
“I applied and was accepted,” Alexander said. “When I showed up there I did not know exactly what to expect.”
Alexander said when school started it helped him to put Indian art into perspective.
“I really wanted to pursue being an artist,” he said. “I had no idea where it would take me or how much change it would put into my life.”
He said it was great being at IAIA. When he returned back to Oklahoma, he felt a gap in communication with his friends in discussing their likes and dislikes, but he also felt it could be a training tool for each.
“They can teach me what I lack and I can do the same for them,” Alexander said. “Eventually we will bridge that gap.”
Alexander said his art does not end with drawing and painting. He also does tattooing, print-making, jewelry and sewing.
“Basically anything that comes out of 2-D form, I can do it,” he said.
Alexander said the theme for his art comes from being an egalitarian, which is where all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.
“We are all human, we are all ‘one,’” he said.
Recently, Alexander has been accepted into a master’s program in Florence, Italy, called the Student Art College International.
“Florence is the heart of the Renaissance,” he said.
He said that what he loves about the Renaissance is that artists took the divine and subject material, and focused on the human by putting emphasis on realism.
“The reason why I want to go there is to help with my egalitarianism,” Alexander said. “I want to take out the labels and focus on the human. So with the school being in Florence, I want that reflection to be put on me.”
He said it will be another challenge since he will not be surrounded by other Native Americans.
“I will be thousands of miles away,” Alexander said. “I’m interested in seeing what kind of diversity I will meet.”
He said he is doing other things in preparation for school in the fall.
“I have to get my student visa,” Alexander said. “That is not easy.”
Currently, he is working on a mural at the Eufaula Indian Community Center.
“After this mural, I am hoping to do another one but nothing is set in stone yet,” Alexander said.
He said he will host a benefit dinner and auction of his art July 1 at the Tulsa Creek Indian Community to help with expenses to Florence.
“I will be doing a live art at the dinner,” Alexander said.
He said in order to be an artist, you have to do what you love every single day. For him it is drawing and painting.
“What I am working on now, I am getting better just by doing it,” Alexander said. “I keep learning new things. There is no such thing as bad art.”
Alexander said there are countless numbers of drawings and pieces of his art. He also said he would like to get his hands on some of the hymnals with his early art.
“I would like to do a show and let everyone see my artwork from the beginning,” he said.
He plans on leaving for Florence at the end of August.