Why artist Alexandra Gorczynski chose the internet over art galleries - Technical.ly Philly

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Why artist Alexandra Gorczynski chose the internet over art galleries

But, OK, her latest exhibit is within an actual gallery in Callowhill. Bear with us.

Alexandra Gorczynski "regards color as a visual language in parallel to poetry."

(Courtesy photo)

Maybe instead of reading this, you’d like to go on a weird romp through the internet over at HOLOGRAM CITY? Go ahead, I’ll still be here.

Pretty damn cool, right? How long were you there? Half an hour? Three hours? Same here.

That’s the work of Alexandra Gorczynski, the Philly-based “city planner and architect” for HOLOGRAM CITY. Check the URL — Blogspot(!). Last post — 2012. Does this make her the Godmother of Tumblr?

Gorczynski, who’s something of a unicorn in the internet art scene because she doesn’t live in New York, spoke with internet art curator Lindsay Howard at Callowhill’s Savery Gallery (319 N. 11th St.) last Saturday to kick off Gorczynski’s show “Vanity Theater.”

The art exhibited at the Savery is primarily digital paintings focused on the female form, as well as hallucinatory pieces that fused video art with digital painting, resulting in paintings that seemed to be constantly changing their mind. You can see it until June 18.

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The artist is a classically trained painter who studied at RISD, a place she described as “the weirder you are there the better” and “a great place to be a freak.” She graduated in 2006 and didn’t have her first computer until she was 25.

alexandra Gorczynski

We asked Alexandra Gorczynski to take a selfie for us and she did.

Subsequently, she took classes in digital visual effects and began working in video, which she said was freeing: “I didn’t even think of the videos I started making as art, but music videos, which took off a lot of pressure,” she said.

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“It was easier to share with people, which I think is part of the appeal of digital art.” That’s compared to galleries, which she said, “can be very intimidating. It’s a very serious place.” On the other hand, she said, “things online don’t look expensive.”

But that doesn’t mean that Gorczynski didn’t tire of YouTube.

“I really loved making video, and I love working with technology, but something about when I was done — it was very about the process for me. I’d stick it on YouTube and it would be next to a cat video and it would feel so anticlimactic after weeks and weeks of work,” she said. “YouTube started to feel like such a graveyard.”

She missed painting.

“I started exploring digital painting, and again it was like a new frontier,” she said. “I could be influenced by Matisse, but wouldn’t have to compete with him. I’d always have to trick myself not to feel like in competition with [the masters].”

On the topic of HOLOGRAM CITY, she said, “I loved that blog so much. I actually felt like I was making art every time I made a post. I’d spend hours and hours and hours on each one.” It was housed on Blogspot because she didn’t know about Tumblr, or maybe it hadn’t existed yet.

“Each time I would make a post, I would get more and more obsessive,” she said. “It became this obsessive way of storytelling through images.”

HOLOGRAM CITY was “taking so much time and was in such a beautiful place that I felt like I’d stop,” she said. “Quit while you’re ahead.”

"Vanity Theater" at Savery Gallery. (Courtesy photo)

“Vanity Theater” at Savery Gallery. (Courtesy photo)

Howard noted that every gallery that Gorczynski has worked with has female owners.

“This makes me feel really weird,” Gorczynski said. “No man has ever asked me to work. One guy — he was really rude. He compared me to another artist, which was very strange; a peer of mine. He was like, ‘I don’t think you should work with video screens, I think you should just make paintings,’ telling me what the work should look like. I wasn’t having it.”

She said she’d be happy to have her work featured in a gallery run by a man, if a man asked. On the other hand, most of the collectors — all but one — who have purchased her work have been men, she said.

You can see more of Gorczynski’s work on her art websites on Newhive, a publishing platform where Howard used to be curatorial director. (Go there! It’s awesome.)

She talked about one collector who purchased a website of hers but didn’t renew the domain. (Purchased websites have their domains transferred to the collector.)

“It would have cost $15 to renew and the piece was thousands of dollars,” she said. “I should be insulted, I guess. It’s just gone. It’s so weird.”

Yeah. The internet is a weird place.

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