“The artist’s job is not to succumb to despair but to find the antidote for the emptiness of existence.” -Woody Allen
If you’re an up-and-coming artist or art lover in the Greater Toronto Area, you’re probably familiar with a young woman by the name of Alexandra Karakis. She’s the creative mind behind the Emerging Toronto Artists Awards and all those brilliant, sparkling glitter paintings you may have seen.
Alex holds regular events showcasing some of the best artists the GTA has to offer. In fact, she’s hosting one tomorrow night! You should definitely check it out. We’ve had the pleasure of attending a couple of them and they’re always top-notch. You can immediately tell the amount of hard work and passion that she puts into her events.
Thank you, Alex, for taking the time to share a little bit about yourself, what drives your creative passions and your mission to build a supportive and artistic community that focuses on #ThrivingArtists. We look forward to seeing what you have in store for the future!
Who are you? What do you do? And, what is your favourite food?
I’m Alex (aka FotoFlares), an Emerging Toronto Artist. I produce artworks made entirely from glue and powdered glitter which I exhibit regularly in Toronto. Along with developing my own artwork brand, I am also the director/founder of Emerging Toronto Artists community and ETA Awards.
We host regular events in Toronto and promote artists via the ‘#ThrivingArtist’ movement. When I’m not making efforts to eat a vegan diet, I enjoy a classic avocado & brie sandwich.
“To be is to do.” -Socrates
What are your main creative outlets?
Through social media and gallery events, I promote my glitter artwork brand and ETA community. When I’m not social networking, promoting or glittering, I like to play guitar, sing and act. I originally went to school for drama in highschool, then Film in University, so I’m a fan of all things artsy.
What caused you to gravitate toward a creative lifestyle?
I’ve always been super creative, its how I entertained myself as a child. I would likely be found coming up with games, organizing teams, writing poetry and drawing. It’s all I’ve ever done, and although the outlet has varied from time to time, I’ve always been an artist.
“To do is to be.” -Jean-Paul Sartre
How did you start creating your art?
My glitter art specifically, began from a project 15 years ago when I tried inventing glitter tattoos that were reusable. I was successful in making the product but I never promoted it.
Years later, I decided I should try putting the tattoos on canvas to preserve them and the it evolved from there. As for ETA, the idea began shortly after I started creating my glitter artwork based on personal desire for a community and exhibition opportunities for emerging artists that were welcoming and supportive.
Do you have a message with your art?
I’m sure I do… I’m still discovering what it is, perhaps. Being a #Thrivingartist is part of it. Maybe the glitter element is my way of making life a bit more magical.
What role do you think art has in our society?
Art is life, from how I see it. It doesn’t have a role, we do. What role do we have in ART? Life seems to be about a journey to discover what type of artist you are, and what your ‘voice’ is.
Everyone is an artist in some way, we are all creators. Society itself seems to be art, the product of artists. My hope is that we continue to become aware of this ‘canvas’ and enjoy creating more, producing something that aligns with how we truly feel and see ourselves, and to be proud of the creation.
ETA wants to see the artists make something really beautiful within Toronto.
“Do be do be do.” -Frank Sinatra
What type of music do you listen to and why?
I listen to everything but tend to be most attracted to music that feels emotionally genuine. I listen less and less to things that have a pessimistic outlook, I don’t like to emotionally align with that (I used to be into it..subconsciously attracted to darkness), now I prefer to be more aware of the message in the music and listen to things that inspire and motivate.
Sad songs are fine, long as they are reflective, and not ‘succumbing to despair’ (Woody Allen). I used to love metal and alternative rock. Especially liked bands like Atreyu who is sometimes secretively romantic in their heavy sounds. Now I mostly listen to any genre with talented musicians, with the balls to be authentic, and well-practiced instrumental skills.
What has been yo bur scariest experience?
Ever? In life? I’m not sure, that’s all relative to different stages of my life. Jumping out of a plan at age 16 was pretty scary, although I seemed to be in shock and it didn’t feel quite so bad in the moment. Heartbreak, in my 20’s, that’s pretty scary.. how it can leave you feeling like you’ve ‘lost yourself’ forever… you then realize that’s only partially true. We die many times in life… and the moments when we are facing it, are the scariest I think – resisting to accept it, with nothing to grasp as the old you is dying and you are forced to let go. Rebirth does follow, and although worthwhile, its always a painful process.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Any and all emotions available to me.
What’s your favourite job aside from your creative passions?
I think I would really enjoy personal training or health coaching, I used to really enjoy working at a gym when I did, and teaching dance. That’s about as far as I would stray from painting or music.
Give the “10-year-old you” one piece of advice.
Eat healthily, keep dancing and singing, go travel more and don’t worry about university. Don’t over pluck your eyebrows. Don’t let those girls tell you to wear makeup and listen to them because you want them to be your friends.. they never were. Don’t get into relationships… they aren’t gonna help you feel happier.. you’ll have to figure that one out on your own. People are gonna let you down all the time, don’t set yourself up for disappointment and go with the flow of what makes you happy. Be good to yourself and others – HUMAN101
What superpower do you wish you had and why?
I’ve always wanted to fly, that’s why I paint with pixie dust…
Art is… (Complete the sentence/paragraph)
…an American singer, poet, and actor. He is best known for his partnership in his earlier years with Paul Simon in the folk-rock duo Simon & Garfunkel.
– Best piece of advice you’ve received?
Don’t go chasing waterfalls.
– What do you want to share with the world?
We’d like to thank Alex again for not only taking the time to do this interview (twice lol), but for all the hard work she puts into building a supportive local community focused on helping artists thrive. We also appreciate you including us in your events and look forward to next year’s ETA awards!
If you’d like to get in touch with Alex regarding her work or taking part in one of her events, please reach out to her through the following links:
Upcoming Event – Tea and Art Party: https://www.facebook.com/events/547646618760102/