We love the colorful, stylized, and sometimes playful paintings of Bay Area artist Alexander Rohrig- so much so that we’ve printed seven of them on the labels of our newest coffees. Alexander was kind enough to speak with us about his art practice, which is based in nearby Pescadero, CA:
"I think ordinary things are frequently overlooked in our fast paced lives. We don’t slow down enough to realize how special they are or how beautiful something simple can be. I want my paintings to reward the person that takes the time to look at them carefully.
That reward is also apparent, and maybe more immediate, in your sculptures, which we’ve been admiring on your website (arohrig.com). Were you a sculptor or a painter first? And do you consider yourself one more than the other?
"I think sculpture has always come much more naturally to me than painting. I’ve had to work much harder at being a painter. My sculptures usually originate from a combination of materials that I’ve been hoarding, so the material is often times the starting point.
I find painting- or I guess the way I paint- much more laborious. Often times I don’t know what the painting will be before I start, so they require a lot more trial and error to get going. In spite of this, I consider myself more of a painter."
We also learned from browsing your website that you held a studio assistant position after college that seems to have been formative to your artistic style. How did that compare to your experience in college?
"I was apprehensive about pursuing art as my vocation in college. Something about it scared me and, if I’m being completely honest, still scares me, so I think I didn’t totally exploit the opportunity that being at a college can offer someone. When I started working for Jane Rosen I was older and ready to learn as much as I could. I made the conscious decision to dedicate myself to being her apprentice. Jane taught me how to draw and to carve stone. My time working for her also gave me the opportunity to explore painting through an art historical lense. It was an amazingly fruitful time for me as an artist and I wouldn’t be half the artist I am today without her and that experience."
Most artists also have day jobs- are you one of those?
"I am certainly one of them. I work for Connect Art International as an art handler in San Francisco."
I guess we’re lucky that you have time for painting too- you must drink a lot of coffee to be so productive.
"I love coffee! I drink it a few times a day. Studio time usually happens after I get home from work these days, so caffeine is a wonderful and necessary motivator for me to burn that midnight oil."
You can see the fruits of Alexander’s caffeine fueled work on the bags of several new 4B coffees now, and as mentioned you can also view his work on the internet. Alexander was born in the Bay Area, earned his Bachelor’s Degree from UC-Santa Cruz, lives and works in Pescadero, CA, and is represented by Gail Severn Gallery in Sun Valley, Idaho. He has hinted at an openness to studio visits at the farm, should you navigate your way to the contact page of his website.