Alexandra Henry: “Anything That Makes You Feel Something”

Artist name: Alexandra Henry

Featured Work 1: Magrela Video from the Street Heroines Documentary Series

Director, Photographer, and CurateNYC Emerging Artist Alexandra Henry lends her thoughtful and intuitive eye and lens to the world of female street artists in her series, “Street Heroines.” While exploring São Paulo on foot she began to document and explore the work of women around the globe who use the street as canvas in this fertile genre.  She explains her admiration for them in this way:

“Whether visually protesting socio-political injustices or spreading messages of empathy, these women are using creativity to persevere [against] social ignorance and find their own voices in the male-dominated world of graffiti and street art.”

Featured Work 2: Photographs

Mexico City
From Alexandra Henry’s site: “During part of my wild Carnival adventure this year I stayed at the house of Sergio Cezar, a well known artist in Brazil, who uses cardboard, or papelão, and other pieces of trash to build model favelas…He grew up in Laranjeiras and might as well be the mayor. The man knows everyone and has a style all his own…”

5 Questions for the Artist:

1. What is art to you?

Art, whether visual or structural or musical, is anything that makes you feel something. Maybe looking at a photo will evoke a visceral response; maybe hearing a song can change your mood; it is in those moments that art happens and you become aligned with the divine. Art comes from a higher power that guides our intuition.

2. What did you make in the past, and why?

My artistic passion has always been photography. I paint and build things, but having a camera in my hand empowers me to capture beauty in unassuming places. I studied photography in high school and had aspirations of being a photojournalist. Henri-Cartier Bresson has been my hero since my grandmother gave me a book on his work when I was 12 years old.

3. What are you making now, and why?

Now I’ve ventured into film making. For the past four years I’ve been directing the film ‘Street Heroines’, a documentary on the courage and creativity of female graffiti and street artists from around the world. I’ve traveled to 10 countries and interviewed 25 artists on what motivates them to use their cities as canvas. With the film Street Heroines, I hope to start a conversation on female empowerment in the urban environment and its implications on society as a whole. By paying tribute to the pioneers of the past while looking to the talents of the future, this multi-generational film plans to break down gender barriers and write a new history on the graffiti and street art movement through a female-centric lens.

4. What are your hopes for the future?

My ideal future consists of place where women are treated equally and taken seriously as creative forces. Not just in graffiti and street art, but in politics, business, sports, and any other male-dominated area of life. I think the change has to start at an early age when children start to identify and categorize the way they see life though societal norms. It’s on us to challenge the existing structure that says women can and cannot do certain things. I would like to keep using art to show that there are alternatives choices in life that have rewarding consequences.

5. What else would you like to say?

Beyond making Street Heroines into a film, I am also trying to use it as a tool that will open more doors for female artists in terms of economic opportunity. I am extremely fed up seeing marketing and branding opportunities go to the same artists, while women work twice as hard to gain recognition and have the same talent and drive. That sentiment extends to the business of the art world, where galleries still have a very low representation of female artists.

Artist Supplied Background:

Alexandra Henry is a multilingual emerging director & photographer with over 12 years of international experience. Her passion for art, music, and languages is showcased through her photography, music videos and on-going documentary project Street Heroines, which features female street artists from all over the world. She strongly believes that visual communication is one of the most efficient tools for generating social change and amplifying a message. Based in New York City, she was born in Alexandria, Virginia and raised in New Mexico. Traveling the world, including stints in London / Istanbul / Mexico City / Los Angeles / Barcelona / Paris / Lima / Buenos Aires / Rio de Janeiro & São Paulo, her body of creative work explores architecture, graffiti, and unembellished details of densely populated areas. She has been twice-recognized as a CurateNYC Emerging Artist and her photographs have been internationally exhibited and published in various magazines and online.

You can follow her work on Instragram and Facebook. Support the Street Heroines Kickstarter here (ending Friday, 7/8).

I also featured Henry in the July 2016 Legendary Women’s News Round Up.


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5 Questions for the Artist, © Julia Travers

Julia A. Travers

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