Join ArtsNow for this special edition of Doers and Dreamers as we present Alex Couch and Micah Kraus interviewed by Kelli Fetter of Downtown Akron Partnership. Alex Couch https://www.instagram.com/cosmocouch Alexandria Couch is student at Myers School of Art at the University of Akron, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting, drawing, and printmaking. Until college, she was primarily self-taught and gained most of her skills by keeping sketchbooks. This is something she started doing at age four and has maintained ever since and continues to do so avidly. Because of her admiration for process and skill-building, she has initiated a show at the Myers School of Art to showcase the sketchbooks, processes and talents of professors and students—they are the people who inspire her the most! The majority of her work explores her experience as a minority, attempting to piece together an identity in unfavorable environments. It is an ongoing battle between self-discovery and breaking through imposed expectations of others through which she must maintain composure. The combination of traditional and found materials helps to emphasize the idea of finding herself through exploration. She has had the honor and opportunity to win awards for her work starting with her Portfolio Review Scholarship received from Myers upon entry and followed by the 2018 Outstanding Student Gillette Academic Scholarship, the 2018 Gillette Study of Arts Abroad Scholarship to Paris, and the High Arts Festival Runner Up, participant in the 2019 GAR show, the 2019 Academic Scholarship to Venice, and a Studio Academic Scholarship for 2019. Micah Kraus http://genuine-article.co Artist Statement The subject and content of my work falls into People, Places, Things. The images are derived from photographs I’ve taken in my city of Akron, Ohio as well as locations around the country and the world. Process is the foundation of my work. I find inspiration and insight through interacting with subject matter and materials in order to make connections and create new truths through visual presentation. My print process involves screen stencils generated by hand and heavily layered ink and varnish. The relief elements of the prints use stencils on found surfaces to create patterns that are reminiscent of digital noise. My color palette is typically comprised of pop-influenced vibrant colors and I use the transparency of water-based and oil-based inks to create complex color relationships. The resultant image is textured and distressed though still recognizable and relatable to the original photograph. I’m drawn to formal elements, specifically textures and patterns that are developed through natural and human influenced deterioration. During the last year I have experiment with processing my digital photographs as laser etched images. By layering ink (usually white, gold or black) on heavy rag paper, the laser can be controlled to interpret the photographs by reductively etching through the ink layers. The distressed textures in my photographs are enhanced and at times overwhelmed by the noisy surface of the inked paper. These works create tension between image and object, digital and analog, control and chance, representation and abstraction.
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