Edmonton artist Alexandra Gusse is in the final year of her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Alberta with a focus on painting. “Painting has always been a part of my life,” says Gusse, “I took private lessons when I was younger and fell in love with Van Gogh. He’s really influenced my work, especially his use of colours.”
Though a fairly young artist, Gusse has had work featured in multiple shows, including a solo show at the Sugarbowl recently. She also regularly does commissions of both human and animal subjects. “I do a lot of commissioned work, especially for weddings. Usually couples in romantic settings. I also have done pet memorial paintings. People choose subjects that are close to their heart.”
Her favourite subject matter is people, and she has gotten inspiration for her portraits in some interesting ways. “I usually base my paintings off of cell phone photos… Most of the paintings that were on display at the Sugarbowl were based on photos taken by my family, of my family. But, I also made a Kijiji ad asking strangers to send me photos and got a lot of interesting images that way.”
Her work conveys a lot of emotion, something that she tries to use colour to accentuate. “People’s faces and the small differences within a face can affect the comfort of a piece so much. You can tell if they’re comfortable, or having a good time — what their emotions are. I can play with colour and manipulate colour to accentuate these emotions. I like to think about the intimacies between people and how to represent those best. “
You can purchase or commission the artist’s work through her website.