Featured artist: Lipstick Lex
Lex's Gallery in Sarasota, FL
Sarasota, Florida-based Claybord artist, Alexis Fraser, is otherwise known in the art scene as "Lipstick Lex". With an emphasis on promoting love, self-love, beauty, personal empowerment, and creative inspiration through her subjects, Lex's innovative method delivers chic and conversational art that is equally vibrant as it is unique. Lex puts her love into each work of art – not just literally with her physical kisses, but from the moment of conceptualization, with each and every brushstroke, the finishing touches, her signature on the bottom corner, and of course the polishing layer of protective resin to conclude the piece.
Jackie-O, 48x36, Lipstick and Resin on Ampersand Claybord
Q: You started out painting landscapes and heading towards a possible interior design career. How have those life lessons helped you in your chosen path?
A: I always knew I wanted to do something creative for a living, I just didn't know what that looked like. I explored many realms while experimenting with my art. Interior design and art education were two paths I went to school for, as I believed they were a "safe" alternative versus being an artist for a living. I actually graduated with a bachelor's degree in art education but never was given the opportunity to apply for a teaching position when my husband was offered a job in Toronto. Moving to Canada meant that I couldn't legally work because I was not a Canadian citizen. This was a blessing in disguise. Not having the opportunity to look for work allowed me to hone in on my craft, explore my art, and find my voice as an artist; which is what ultimately led me down the path I am currently on today.
Kisses for a Cause: Halo Arts Project, Sarasota, FL
Q: We admire how your work embodies self-love, personal empowerment, positive vibes, and love. We need more of that these days. Your non-profit, Kisses For A Cause, is a great example of this. Tell us about this organization and where people can donate.
A: Thank you so much for asking about this! I have donated tens of thousands of dollars through my art to charities and organizations that I believe in and it only made sense to finally set up a charitable platform of my own. Kisses For A Cause was created to promote the arts and spread positivity through community outreach initiatives. It's a way to exemplify everything my brand Lipstick Lex stands for versus just being told symbolically through a painting. Folks can learn more, donate and learn ways to participate by visiting www.kissesforcauses.org
Marilyn in Blue, 48x36, Lipstick and Resin on Ampersand Claybord
Q: Now the question everyone wants to know. Why lipstick and how did this come about?
A: Lipstick came to me during my experimental phase while living in Toronto. I was dabbling in MANY unconventional mediums and techniques as I strived to differentiate myself! I credit a portrait of Marilyn Monroe as I knew I wanted to create her portrait in a way that would correlate with the classic icon. The idea just randomly popped into my head when I was on a road trip from Canada to Florida! The idea of creating Marilyn with a feminine product like lipstick AND utilizing my kisses just felt so right! This is where the seed was planted. Over the course of time, lipstick became my primary medium and the kiss print became very symbolic to me. Through this medium and along with the kisses, I was able to project a positive narrative to coincide with my art and it just stuck!
Q: Lipstick is your primary medium, but you don’t always apply it with kisses. What kind of tools and brushes do you use?
A: The kisses are sort of the "wow-factor" of the art! It's what catches people's attention and makes a lasting impression. However, like a typical human being, I prefer working with my hands! The kisses can definitely become laborious - let's be honest! But yes, I paint with the lipstick, draw with the lipstick, and even utilize stencils. Oh, and my brushes are all cosmetic makeup brushes!
Remembering Audrey, 48x36, Lipstick and Resin on Ampersand Claybord
Q: It seems like the lipstick would need to have some kind of finish. What do you use to protect the finished work?
A: I use epoxy resin (Art Resin specifically) but have recently graduated to a UV protective clear coat auto paint! There is a body shop in town that specializes in the artwork on cars and motorcycles and they now also clear coat my artwork! The clear coat is essential since lipstick never quite dries and the UV protectant prevents the pigment from fading over time.
Maya Angelou, 48x36, Lipstick and Resin on Ampersand Claybord
Q: You do a lot of portraits. Which has been your favorite and who are you looking to paint next?
A: I go through phases where I do a lot of portraitures and then I might veer off for a while, but the human face just always fascinates me and keeps me coming back! I have done a lot of pop art in the past but I'm looking to start some new work with people in my personal life that have moved me, encouraged me, or inspired me in some way.
I Love You, 48x36, Lipstick and Resin on Ampersand Claybord
Q: And the question we ask everyone. How did you discover Ampersand Claybord and what do you love about it for your work?
A: YES! Okay, so I used standard stretched canvas for years and even started my lipstick paintings on canvas but fell into issues with a few factors. 1. I didn't like that the texture of the canvas would take away from the texture of my kiss print. 2. When I would apply my kisses there was too much 'give' I needed a firm surface to work against for the right amount of pressure. 3. When I would pour my resin, it would pool into the center of the canvas. Again, I needed a firm surface to work with. While scouring options at the art store I saw the Ampersand Claybord product and thought, "Hey! This looks perfect!" And it is! I've been working with Claybord ever since!
Alexis Fraser is an alternative visual and performing artist utilizing 100% lipstick as her medium, adorning each piece she creates with layers upon layers of her own kisses. Each piece she creates goes through a conceptual process, ignited by the inspiration given to her at that time. An international artist who works on both private commissions and corporate collaborations. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States as well as numerous international locales such as Toronto, London, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, to name a few. Lex has been featured locally, nationally, and worldwide with TV appearances, worldwide press, celebrity purchases, and various exhibitions. Her art and her brand are rapidly growing along with her profoundly centered focus to spread love one kiss at a time. To see more of Lex's work, visit her website, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.
Frida, 48x36, Lipstick and Resin on Ampersand Claybord
Up-Leveled, 40x30, Lipstick and Resin on Ampersand Claybord
Lennon, 24x36, Lipstick and Resin on Ampersand Claybord
Pretty in Pink, 36x24, Lipstick and Resin on Ampersand Claybord