Meet LEO’s Upcoming Cowl Artist, Louisville’s Alexis ‘Stix’ Brown As She Explores What A Black Future Means

Alexis ‘Stix’ Brown creates with personas however at all times as herself. Her cowl for LEO’s Black Future/Winter A&E subject, debuting on Wednesday, comes from her as Stix the Stitching Mime. LEO has hung out with Brown earlier than throughout her “Interlocutor” residency at New Albany’s Carnegie Middle in 2021. Since then, Brown has been creating and promoting her art work, sock monkeys, seed packets, and coloring pages. A lot of it centered on her need to deal with and cope with ways in which people can heal and be healed. LEO obtained an opportunity to talk with Brown by way of e-mail concerning the concept of a Black future, alternatives and artwork. Right here is Alexis ‘Stix’ Brown’s uncut interview.

LEO: Once you consider a Black Future, what does that imply to you?

In my thoughts, Black future begins as an intimate existence of purposeful excellence, inevitably creating secure areas for Black people to indulge and thrive. Black future is the simultaneous union of private progress and group cultivation. My artwork apply encourages its viewers to go deeper into self by demanding alignment in each personal and public engagement. My work challenges its viewers to emerge with one thing tangible for our elders to be happy with, a secure area for our future generations to navigate confidently, and to go with the unwavering spirit of our courageous Ancestors.

Black future, to me, is the intentional cultivation of infinite secure areas particularly for the apply of creativity. After I consider Black future I think about infinite secure areas to expertise pleasure, creativity, private and communal progress. The dialogue of Black future should prioritize secure areas for black people to be taught, work, and to be heard. Black future should prioritize secure areas for people to develop and be taught extra about learn how to higher serve self and learn how to higher serve our group.

How are you contemplating that in your artworks?

Over time I’ve struggled severely with what my creativity has been making an attempt to speak to me. Prior to now, all I appeared to face was unhappiness and problems. I usually questioned, ‘the place is the silver lining, the place is pleasure?’ I’ve a very supportive circle of household and buddies who at all times encourage my creativity, however one good friend specifically would usually encourage me to create only for enjoyable.

The concept of enjoyable has at all times eluded me, like ‘what’s enjoyable?,’ ‘what’s pleasure?,’ ‘what’s peace?’ However, I found creating only for the sake of making silenced the surface world for some time and awarded me a peaceable surroundings the place something is feasible.

I bear in mind one notably difficult season in my life, I used to be on a telephone name with the identical encouraging longtime good friend. We’ve recognized one another since highschool so I belief her judgment calls once I’m feeling down. I advised her I needed to sew a sock monkey, however I merely couldn’t justify the period of time I used to be spending to do it. At the moment I used to be digging myself additional into debt with each breath I took, and I felt like I wanted to provide a windfall of money each quarter-hour simply to outlive one other hour. I couldn’t justify sitting and stitching at a time like this. The act felt out of alignment with the calls for of survival.

My good friend stated to me, ‘simply do it for your self.’ Though that was a international thought, it resonated with my spirit, and I trusted her, so I made the sock monkey. After creating that monkey and giving it away to a most deserving, excessive spirited little boy, I used to be hooked. My sock monkey making apply started to really feel extra therapeutic and the act of promoting or giving them away introduced me very a lot pleasure. All I needed was to recreate this newfound pleasure again and again. However we stay in a world of excessive distinction proper?

With a lot pleasure should in reality come a lot ache. Upon my transition from canvas to sewing, the worldwide pandemic of 2020 was lurking across the nook. When Covid reared its ugly head, I took it as a private problem to face within the excessive winds of uncertainty and peacefully demand the universe to grant me a secure area to create in peace, and that’s precisely what I did. I fell so deeply in love with this exercise I naturally started to guard the surroundings my sock monkey friends have been being created in. I shortly realized, to present this venture what it must thrive, I wanted a secure area to create, to be nonetheless, to sit down in peace. That is the place the true interior work started and it was/is brutal. However i’ll say – if you don’t humble your self voluntarily, you can be humbled, fam.

I selected to go voluntarily and the glory of that courageous choice introduced me with the chance to satisfy myself, current within the second, whereas providing a transparent understanding of learn how to navigate precisely the place I wanted to land. Inside my work I attempt to reply these questions, ‘how can I make my sock monkey apply in a secure area,’ and ‘what do I must do to guard this area.’ What ended up occurring is that I noticed I needed to be taught what makes me really feel secure. Then I needed to train myself that I’m worthy of that secure area, after which I needed to train myself learn how to defend that secure area. In my Black future, I’m a steward of the needle and thread, providing a secure area for inward exploration and contemplation. The results of this apply is a tangible providing of satisfaction to our elders, a secure area for our youthful generations to navigate confidently, and a apply to go with the unwavering spirits of our courageous ancestors.

What do you assume is working, or not, within the present native artwork scene?

I’ve struggled for years to pinpoint what I believe is working or not working within the present native artwork scene. It appears as if issues are working and concurrently not working.

I believe the dearth of secure areas to domesticate and create is taking its toll. Artists are compelled emigrate from venue to venue throughout the metropolis to host occasions or afford an acceptable studio workspace. I don’t really feel that the native artwork scene is greeted with any intentional alternatives to develop roots. Now don’t get me incorrect, there are root rising alternatives introduced, however the ones that basically pay out, look carefully, there are various strings connected that oppress an artist’s true character. We change into a mascot for whoever is funding our roots. We’d like extra self-sustaining alternatives housed in secure areas.

Regardless, we’re relentless and we proceed to create. Honorably quoting the late Martin Luther King Jr. ‘Those that love peace should be taught to prepare as successfully as those that love battle.’

I imagine the native artwork scene will proceed to quietly foster and management nice creatives till we be taught to prepare, create, defend, and acquire secure areas for ourselves.

You probably did a residency with Carnegie in New Albany, how has that helped your alternatives as an artist?

My residency with the Carnegie Middle for Artwork and Historical past in New Albany, Indiana was two-sided in equal components.

On one hand my residency was precisely what I wanted throughout that season in my life, and for that I’ll at all times be grateful. In all honesty, to today, I’m nonetheless reaping the advantages of the work I did and relationships I’ve fostered throughout that residency. However it was very evident to me that the Carnegie Middle for Artwork and Historical past is content material with doing the naked minimal to remain publicly related with the black group.

If the Carnegie Middle for Artwork and Historical past have been actually focused on investing in Black artists, I believe they’d discover honor in revisiting their very own dwelling historical past. The everlasting set up ‘Extraordinary Individuals, Extraordinary Braveness: Males & Ladies of the Underground Railroad’ is traumatic and uninspiring to say the least. This set up serves as an ideal instance of Black people not telling our personal story.

It is a frequent theme I skilled throughout my residency in New Albany and infrequently raised deep issues. Much more so, the proud permanency of this set up speaks volumes concerning the vanity of the group that it’s safely nestled and guarded in. Black historical past must be advised, created, and put in by Black people from the start to finish. Till this occurs, the group of New Albany will proceed to foster a spirit of unity to the general public, whereas privately non-Black people proceed to contribute to a narrative that they can not probably perceive. If I have been ever introduced with the chance to work with this group once more I’m positive that I’d be compelled to decide on between the greenback quantity they’re providing and my self respect.

What tasks are you trying ahead to within the close to future?

I plan to proceed transferring ahead in my sock monkey-making apply and cultivating secure areas. I’m introducing a extra theatrical ingredient to my work as a mime. Because the world continues to demand equality, and conversations of secure areas proceed to fall on deaf ears, I’ve discovered it solely complimentary to cease speaking, to permit my actions to talk the place my phrases don’t attain. Final yr, I teamed up with two native artists to introduce my newest inventive endeavor, the ‘Start of a Mime.’ On this venture, I’m featured with two artists whose properties I’ve been respectfully invited into. I’ve discovered these artists to mirror the utmost honor, each of their private and non-private lives – unwavering service to their group – and they’re at all times accessible for steering and to supply a serving to hand to any and everybody who would possibly ask. Of their presence everyone seems to be equal and secure areas are protected. They’re my elders, and I’ve recognized much more elders! I’m honored to sit down behind my elders, to permit them to talk for me the place my phrases are nonetheless childish. I enable them to mould me and impress upon me the significance of variety, equality, creativity, and group. Within the close to future I plan to proceed networking and cultivating secure areas by silently collaborating with like minded artists. It’s my objective. Stix – The Stitching Mime : .