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Meet Glendale Designer & Art Director: Alexa Wright

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexa Wright.

Alexa, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born & raised in Houston, Texas. I’ve always been extremely curious in all areas of creativity, from cooking to sewing, to web design, to photography and all things DIY. My parents were always super supportive of my always-evolving interests. I was interested in sewing at a young age and got my first sewing machine at nine years old. I kept many photo blogs over the years with images of my life, hand-made clothing, and food creations.

I knew I wanted to pursue my creativity in a new city after graduating from high school, so I went to New York City where I attended the Fashion Institute of Technology for fashion design. I earned my associate’s degree & BFA while interning at lots of interesting fashion companies, including Alexander Wang.

Once I graduated, I wasn’t sure the fashion industry was the best cultural fit for me. My boyfriend Ryan encouraged me to begin freelancing. With that and lots of skills under my belt, I began freelancing, providing visual design, branding, websites, and illustration for clients. I’ve now been doing this now for the past three plus years. I moved to LA last year, after 6 years in NYC, and have expanded my offerings into art direction.

Ryan and I collaborate on lots of client projects, as well as our own. One of our own is GIFGASM.me, an immersive psychedelic image search engine.

I find a lot of joy exploring my other passions when I’m not freelancing. Earlier this year I got really into sewing kimonos, and lately I’ve loved exploring LA by finding animal sanctuaries & botanical gardens where I can photograph animals & plants.

Has it been a smooth road?
I’ve stressed over this idea that my inability to commit to only interest meant that I was fickle or lacked focus. I wished I felt more neatly into one box and felt deficient in comparison to people that were more specialized. In the past year or so, I’ve learned to embrace my inner wiring and constant curiosity as a positive thing.

It’s always a challenge to navigate the waters of business as a freelancer and now as an S-corporation. When I started, in no way did I feel prepared me for things like negotiations, contracts, or client management. I’ve learned to grow a backbone and get out of my reserved, conflict-averse shell, within business situations as well as my personal life. I’m much more comfortable and capable now.

Also, freelancing requires you to constantly be engaged in moving your business forward…the hunting and gathering can be tricky, but it keeps things interesting.

So, what should we be on the lookout for, what’s next in store for you?
I’m super excited to be visiting Japan next Spring with my family. I love Japanese culture.

When I’m not freelancing, I’ve been looking for places to photograph animals in sanctuaries/environments that aren’t oppressive. I really want to remind people of the power, beauty, and also the vulnerability of animals. In my future, I plan to focus my subject matter, improve the photos, and get them off of the screen to be experienced in printed form.

Let’s dig a little deeper into your story. What was the hardest time you’ve had?
Taking a career path that wasn’t related to fashion design was a difficult choice. I had invested all my energy and time interning at lots of fashion companies and poured my blood, sweat, and tears into my projects on little to no sleep. These experiences were all super valuable, but the culture and expectations made me question whether this was the industry to commit myself to. I was living a really unhealthy lifestyle. So many close friends and acquaintances had also given way too much of themselves to the industry in ways that harmed their emotional and physical health.

Meeting Ryan Rogalski, my boyfriend, exposed me to options outside of my bubble. I began freelancing with my visual design skills, but I struggled with this idea that I was leaving a dream behind. I now realize that I don’t have to pick just one path. I’ll always love to make quality clothing and wear my designs. The idea that I can pursue clothing design on my own terms or from a different angle lives on.

Do you ever feel like “Wow, I’ve arrived” or “I’ve made it” or do you feel like the bulk of the story is still unwritten?
The most exciting moments in my career so far have been the opportunities to art direct photo shoots, offered to me by a wonderful agency I’ve been working for here in LA. Although I had never had the chance to direct visuals on this type of scale, it felt very natural, and I loved it. Being in an environment of fellow creative people banding together is something I’d like to experience as much as possible. I’m super grateful to be entrusted with these responsibilities.

These experiences broadened my world to what is possible. I’ve always felt like there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to learn how to do everything myself. How to make shoes, how to weave a basket, how to master 3D animation. From these shoots, I learned that it’s possible to direct the artwork without needing to play every role. I learned that my point of view has value beyond being the “technician”. I could direct specialists to do what they do best, and together we could come up with something bigger than all of us.

Working with talented photographers also got me back in touch with my love for photography.

Contact Info:

0-alexa-wright-los-angeles-05403739 1-alexa-wright-fly-bdf2fa71 2-img_1949 3-img_4246 4-img_0718Image Credit:
All images are my own.

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