‘I feel the current affairs in my homeland reflect the nature of my art – a dreamlike hallucination that captures an unreal chain of events’
Born in Kiev in the former Soviet Union, Alex Shender masters the art of digital geometrics that aim to shape the future landscape of a peer-to-peer marketplace
Fifty-five year old Ukrainian, Alex Shender, uses his art as a voice for peace and escapism of a different kind. He also uses his artistic talent as financial means to help his fellow countrymen and women who are a world away from his home in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Since fleeing the Soviet Union in 1989, Alex has shaped his career to become a marvel in technology. This also led him to become a self-taught prodigy in the world of digital art in all its forms. Painting with acrylics at the start of his new found life in the United States was a full-time move he decided to bravely make in 2004 after a successful career as an IT consultant for some of Wall Street’s biggest financial institutions. Alex decided to follow his passion from a young age that developed over several decades, with technology, allowing him to express his creative beliefs more openly with digital tools that he now uses to produce colorful geometric expressions of the mind. His passion for mastering the marriage of modern-day software with art and the virtual world has also led him to become acutely aware and savvy in the developing genre of NFT Art.
‘There are many loved ones, family and friends, in eastern Europe who are experiencing a nightmare,’ says Alex. ‘Most of us sleep with images of imagination and nature, which I like to portray in my paintings. People often find a deeper meaning when they look at my art, and I want to send a message through my work to my people everywhere, that it will soon be time to dream in color again.’
Alex creates paintings, sculptures and limited-edition prints inspired by local scenery, nature and people. But his most imaginative works of digital wonder and abstract surrealism are inspired by the likes of Salvador Dali, Kazimir Malevich (the Soviet-Ukrainian artist), Keith Haring, and street artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Martin Whatson and Banksy. Alex’s geometric patterns and images of nature mimic eloquent dreamscapes from another world, with the juxtaposition of creatures from the sea set against backdrops of space and time for example. Other works can be seen to have a more vibrant floral effect, with effervescent colors used to portray an abundance of wildlife and beauty.
‘My abstract art pieces are often not aimed at capturing reality but rather are an arrangement of colors and shapes appealing to one’s senses aimed at creating a lasting feeling,’ says Alex. ‘Within this dream world I work to create, lies the intersection of subconscious and nature that enthralls the viewer’s emotion.’
As someone allergic to solvents, Alex was unable to paint in oil and soon found painting in acrylic a technique he wasn’t able to express his true creative mindset with. In tune with his career-long passion for technology came his passion for the digital art world, that enabled him to explore endlessly his love for color. Alex’s variations of digital artwork have a broad spectrum of appeal to his clientele, and can be found in a number of private collections across the U.S. During his lengthy immersion in the software used to create his dreamlike mosaics, Alex has dissected the creative ingredients he envisions will make the NFT Art world more palatable for all.
‘It’s chaos at the moment,’ he says. ‘It’s very polluted and disorganized, and everyone is waiting for a better marketplace that will definitely come in a matter of time. The best NFTs are not accessible at the moment and it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. There needs to be a searchable marketplace that’s categorized for easy consumption. Right now, it’s very inconvenient to find, buy and own a piece of NFT Art, so people are speculating on their purchases and ownership. People who currently own an NFT don’t know what to do with it.’
Alex optimistically envisions an ‘Amazon for the NFT marketplace’ will form within the next ten years for easy ownership by collectors, whereby NFTs will be part of everyone’s household, displayed on dynamic panels within the home and ultimately replacing traditional art on the wall.
Alex was born in 1966 in Kiev, USSR, and formally started to study art at the age of twelve. It was then, carrying art supplies and traveling for two hours by bus to get to the night classes at the Art School, he started what would become a lifelong pursuit. While in college, he created many artworks including illustrations for magazines and college play decorations. These works along with many others had to be left behind, along with everything that the family owned, when Alex fled the Soviet Union two years prior to its collapse. He recalls ‘It was a very hot summer day in New York when I landed in JFK with one suitcase of clothes and no money.’
As a political refugee at the age of 23, emigrating to the U.S. with his family, Alex was able to continue his education, previously held in Russia, and graduated from Pace University in New York State with a Masters degree in Information Technology in 1995, after marrying his wife with whom he has two children. Alex quit his IT career on Wall Street in 2004 so he could pursue his lifelong dream of becoming an artist, and continues to work from his home studio in Greenwich.
Alex will be exhibiting his latest series of work at [SOLO] at this year’s Artexpo New York, taking place April 7-10 at Pier 36 in Manhattan. He pledges a portion of the proceeds from the sale of his work will be given to those he knows in Ukraine, including the four families he remains in close contact with.
‘It’s insane to think I have relatives from Ukraine and Russia in the military ranks on both sides of the battlefield,’ Alex says.
For more examples of Alex Shender’s art, visit www.artalex.us
Images of Alex Shender’s art (credit ‘Alex Shender’)