From child prodigy to international sensation, artist Alexandra Nechita finds herself through her work.
Romanian-born, Los Angeles-bred artist Alexandra Nechita has been practicing her craft since she could hold a crayon. Like most children, she always loved to draw, but in her case, there was something deeper at play. “It was brought to my parents’ attention as maybe being more than just a hobby when my third grade teacher said ‘All she does is draw in class all day long,’” Nechita remembers. “My mom was like ‘Well, when she comes home all she wants to do is paint.’ At this point my parents had taken me to an art store and asked some idiot what I should paint with and he gave us oil paints and so I was painting with oil paint from six years old.” After being invited to Nechita’s home, the living room of which had been reconfigured into an ad hoc studio, the teacher suggested she have an art show at the local library. Soon thereafter, she showed over 60 paintings there. By age 10 she had an international publishing contract. And she’s never stopped since.
“I was brought to my parents’ attention as maybe being more than just a hobby”
Nechita went on to study fine art at UCLA, and made a name for herself with her colorful, cubist paintings and sculptures, which are collected by the likes of Ellen Degeneres and Oprah. Her career was humming along until a major life change: the birth of her daughter, Tevva, three years ago. Since assuming the new role of motherhood, she’s constantly questioning what it means to be a parent and an artist, a subject she’s exploring in her latest batch of canvases. “I think this group of work is about forgiving myself and moving forward in search of this equilibrium that I kind of was afraid I couldn't find,” the artist says. “You become so swallowed into parenting. You [worry that you] can't possibly have both worlds, right? You can't possibly be a good, involved mother and then be a good and successful artist.”
“Surely, those things are true in the beginning,” Nechita says, answering her own question. “I had no idea what the hell I was doing in being a mother. I was so overwhelmed with emotion, and the things no one likes to talk about, and the shifts that happen to you mentally. I also thought, I was like, ‘That's it. I'm going to say mercy and I'm never going to be able to find myself again in my studio.’ I was so tired and so conflicted. Yet, I still felt inspired. I still felt like I had things to say.” Below, the painter and sculptor spoke to the Arch about motherhood, overcoming obstacles, and her idea of beauty. Read on for the full Q&A.