Art star

A look inside the world of local artist Xandriss

 by Josh Spiegel
 published on Thursday, September 23, 2004

The art community, in some respects, is much like any other venue of entertainment. Thousands of artists aren't noticed beyond their friends and family, but a lucky few are pushed into the spotlight and have their work highlighted in various galleries and exhibits. One such local artist is the abstract painter Xandriss.

Xandriss, who prefers to keep her real name private, chose her performance name because, as she says, "I like the letters and I like the way they sound together."

She's been painting since 1999. She has been drawing for most of her life, and "painting was one thing I hadn't conquered yet, and I was shocked to find that I was pretty good."

Her paintings are created through a process that she calls a "single line series," where she creates maze-like lines all over the canvas. "A single line makes up an image by turning in and around on itself until it's completely filled in," says the self-dubbed "visual artist."

Xandriss says the inspiration for these unique paintings is quite simple.

"I don't think at all about where the lines are going to go. My hand goes wherever it wants to," she says.

She paints whatever ideas pop into her head. A photo she took of the downstairs basement of a coffeehouse where she worked inspired one of her paintings, "Stairwell."

Some of her other art is inspired by photos, both self-taken and from magazines, but some are simply abstract in thought. For the most part, Xandriss' paintings are of abstract form, although she has also made some art which is more simplistic yet just as entrancing. "I like abstract a lot, but I also like realistic."

Last April, Xandriss got her first big break when the Starbucks Coffee establishment on Fifth Street and Mill Avenue showcased her work for the month. "That was wonderful. It worked out really well," she said.

Aside from her month-long exhibition at Starbucks, her works are also appearing at the Arizona Art Supply, a local art supplies store, on a permanent basis. She creates a new series for them each month. Her work is also on display at the Naked Bean, a Mesa coffeehouse across the street from Mesa Community College.

Xandriss doesn't stick to just paintings. "I don't want to get bored," she says.

She's also a carpenter and makes the frames that her paintings appear in, as well as some of the other fixtures in her house, including spice racks and various shelves. "Sometimes it's a really difficult process, depending on how ornate I want the frame to be," said Xandriss.

Art isn't the only important part of Xandriss' life. She's also a devoted housewife and Christian, with two young children. The 26-year old artist hasn't been painting as much recently, since her youngest child is still an infant.

One thing that Xandriss is fighting for is affordable art.

"I believe that the average person should be able to afford fine art. Most people ... deserve fine art," she says.

She strives for people who view her art to respond to it, no matter what that response is. "I like [people] to have a reaction to my art. Something. Anything. Emotion, thoughtful reflection; something more than they had before viewing," she says.

Her uniquely involving art ranges from the wildly abstract aesthetic of splashes of color on canvas, to the tender, more concrete images like that of a pregnant woman being comforted by her lover. Due to this wide range her work has received a warm reception in the Valley art scene.

With work on display across the Valley, Xandriss is just one artist whose days of struggling may be over. Those interested in viewing of her paintings can see her exhibits at the Arizona Art Supply and the Naked Bean coffeehouse. If you're interested in purchasing her paintings, contact Xandriss at (602) 741-2470.

Reach the reporter at josh.spiegel@asu.edu.



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