Darkness Fuels A Mission Of Hope For Artist Alix Lambert
There are films. Plays. Photographs. Sculptures. Books. Illustrations. Music. Cartoons. The list goes on… How does one make sense of the wildly diverse talents of Brooklyn-based artist Alix Lambert? I will admit, it took me a bit of time to get my head wrapped around it all. Her work had been on my radar after first being introduced to it by friend. As I initially researched this complex body of work I was sure I had been misdirected to multiple artists; that something was clearly lost in translation. The confusion was in my not recognizing that Alix Lambert is simply to be deemed a great storyteller. And to that point, a great storyteller has many ways to tell a story. As it turns out, her multi-disciplinary approach is a natural product of her broad-spectrum training in art school…that and her own brand of creative genius, of course.
Sketches from criminal trial courtrooms. Click an image to view larger:
When I finally connected with Alix on Skype, I was immediately drawn to her passion, vibrancy and youthful light-heartedness — a stark contrast to her moody, sometimes seemingly ‘heavy’ art. To her, the varied mediums are neither disconnected nor arbitrary. In fact, the opposite is true — she mindfully chooses the medium that best communicates the story she is crafting. In some cases, Alix will even choose multiple mediums in order to meet the audience where their comfort level lies. For example, she is currently producing a multi-dimensional project that will include a book, an app, and a documentary — each telling the same story, but with a different emphasis within each medium.
While Alix’s work can feel dark, it is not a reflection of her outlook; rather it is a reflection of the realities of the plights her subjects face. She has tackled the accused (whether rightly or wrongly), the incarcerated, and even the nearly extinct. The city of Cincinnati enjoyed a bittersweet 15 minutes of fame in 2014 when Martha, the last passenger pigeon on the planet passed away in the Cincinnati Zoo. In response, Alix produced and illustrated a short film entitled Martha, in collaboration with animator/editor Brian Young and musician Michael Friedman.
View the short film, Martha:
Her most recent project, The Mark Of Cain (a biblical reference to the branding of the first murderer), is both a riveting photography book with an essay by Scott Macaulay, and a re-release of an investigative documentary film she shot 15 years ago, which is included with the book on a DVD. The work explores the lives and vanishing tattoo art within some of Russia’s most notorious prisons. It is remarkable in itself that Alix could gain such intimate access to these prisoners — a testament to her resolve when it comes to a pursuit of passion. Devoid of judgment, her work not only showcases the tattoos for their cultural significance, she portrays the inmates as humans worthy of compassion.
A preview of the first 9 minutes of The Mark Of Cain:
Another project, Crime: The Animated Series, is a collection of animated short films, each depicting the personal stories of a criminal, or someone affected by crime, whom actually narrates the film. The films convey a visceral context of the environments surrounding the subjects and occasionally, the psychology behind the crimes. The animated treatment lightens (somewhat) the difficult subject matter, making it a bit easier to digest.
View one of the series of Crime: The Animated Series:
In yet another body of work, a photographic portfolio entitled Rwanda, Alix turns her lens on a women-run coffee bean farm, celebrating the sustainable and empowering work of these remarkable women, who are beating the economic odds in an embattled microcosm of Africa.
Click an image to view the Rwanda portfolio gallery:
One example of Alix’s multi-media approach is her exploration of inner-city boxing culture. Inspired by the ‘training tools’ of the sport, she created ceramic sculptures of a speedball and gloves, and also composed a piece of music which incorporates the rhythmic sounds of the gyms, created by these same tools. Listen to this song, The Liberian Boxing Team, which is part of Alix’s eclectic album Running After Deer, created with Travis Dickerson:
So — how to make sense of all these seemingly disparate endeavors? After talking with Alix and hearing her motivations for each, it became clear: The singular thread that weaves her work together is the evolution of humanity. Alix strives to be a voice of those who cannot express their own voices — those who have been silenced, shunned, imprisoned, or marginalized by society. And she does so with great hope that with a modicum of compassion and understanding, perhaps we may all become a bit less judgmental and more proactive for social change, and that those that may otherwise follow the destructive paths of some of her subjects, might find a more productive path before it is too late.
Learn more at pinkghettoproductions.com