1xRUN Thru Interview
Hamsa by Alice Mizrachi
1xRun: Tell us a little bit about these prints, are there any originals for sale or were they created just for this edition?
Alice Mizrachi: This year my work is focused on digging deep into my lineage and discovering my identity as an American Israeli artist.
1xRun: Was this piece part of a recent theme, series or show that you had?
Alice Mizrachi: These prints were part of my recent residency in Providence which culminated in an exhibition at an abandoned synagogue entitled “Dreams”. The project is about dreams and the universal story of migration.
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Alice Mizrachi: Upon approaching the installation on the altar of an abandoned synagogue where the “Hamsa” print is hung the viewer is asked to interact with the print by casting a dream. I created a dream reliquary under the print where each person is engaged by writing down a dream, placing it in the altar and then watching it manifest as the boat brings it to realization. The Hamsa protects the dream in its migratory process. In my research about my family migration I found that all migrants have a common dream: the dream of a better future for themselves and their family. As all people move and grow it is unifying to remember the universal connection of dreams and desires for all.
1xRun: How long did the piece take?
Alice Mizrachi: The piece was created throughout my month long residency in Providence with AS220 arts organization but took about 6 months to conceptualize the concept and execution of the complete installation, print, video, and zine.
1xRun: What is unique about this piece?
Alice Mizrachi: The Hamsa is a symbol I grew up with in my house and continues to be part of my American/Sephardic/Jewish identity. I thought it was appropriate to include it in my installation at the synagogue since it’s analogous to the story of all migrants dreams and because it’s also a sacred traditional symbol of protection. This piece is unique because it stand on its own as a universal symbol but also is very personal to me from a cultural perspective. At this point in my career, I feel more comfortable sharing my identity and roots.
1xRun: Why should people buy one of these prints?
Alice Mizrachi: Firstly the piece is beautifully printed and looks great framed. The energy of the print feels positive and sacred. I love having imagery on my walls that represent positive aspects of our collective self. Art is a great investment and I know the value of this print will increase in value as time passes and my career grows.
1xRun: Describe these pieces in one gut reaction word.
Alice Mizrachi: Sacred.
1xRun: When did you first start making art?
Alice Mizrachi: I started early as a young girl in elementary school. I have always loved making things. I started taking it more serious in high school when I began to believe that art is something I could pursue as a career.
1xRun: What artists inspire you now?
Alice Mizrachi: I am constantly inspired by some of my peers who continue to keep me on my toes. When looking back at history, some of my greatest inspirations are Hannah Hoch, Erich Heckel, Kurt Schwitters, Romare Bearden, Basquiat, Pablo Picasso and Frida Kahlo.
1xRun: What was your first piece?
Alice Mizrachi: I don’t remember my very first piece but the earliest piece I remember was a paper mache superman I made in second grade. I won an award for it so it was memorable. It was the first time I was acknowledged for my skill and it felt really great, so great that I always wanted that feeling to return. I was lucky to have wonderful art teachers throughout my education and they always encouraged me to pursue art.
1xRun: What artists inspired you early on?
Alice Mizrachi: My family was a big part of my inspiration and I see them all as artists in their own way. My dad is an auto-body man, so I’ve watched him work with metal on cars my whole life and that’s where my love for building and installation work comes in. My mom is a gardener, homemaker, extraordinary cook and loving woman so she influenced the softer side of my work- lace, crochet and softer elements that you will see in my collages and paintings. My mother is also the sacred feminine in my work that I often connect with. My brother was a b-boy in the 80’s and he had a major influence on my cultural exposure to hip hop, graff and break dancing. I felt comfortable in that world because I was introduced to it at home, so it felt safe. My sister always had my back and she influenced me in a way that a big sister does by always keeping things in order and making sure I was good. She also introduced me to the music and culture of her time (soul, funk, disco) which is another big influence on my work. As far as a contemporary artist- I would say Basquiat because I felt connected to his feeling of otherness.
1xRun: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what?
Alice Mizrachi: I love listening to music while I work. I like listening to Erykah Badu, ESG, Gregory Isaacs and Gang Starr…the list can go on and on. I love all kinds of music and it really depends on my mood. My work is often site specific so the music can change based on my environment.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why?
Alice Mizrachi: I would say Shirin Neshat because our mediums are so different but our concepts are similar that it would be an interesting collabo.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any deceased artists who would it be and why?
Alice Mizrachi: 5-10 years ago I would have said Basquiat but today I feel a bit different. I think Picasso or Schwitters.
1xRun: Any big shows or events coming up that you’d like to share?
Alice Mizrachi: I have a piece up now at Bric Arts in BK, I am painting a mural for Bushwick Open Studios and SONYA in the next 2 weeks. I will be working with Wall Therapy this summer on a mural and education programming. Aside from my recent opening in Providence for the synagogue project and I will have a solo show coming up in November in Tel Aviv and some other art education/ university workshops and lectures in the works. I feel so blessed to be doing what I love.