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Daily Inspiration: Meet Alex Johnmeyer

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alex Johnmeyer.

Hi Alex, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
From a young age, art was the way I expressed all that I experienced. As I’ve moved through this world and discovered who I am as an artist, I’ve held tight to this personal mission to make my voice heard… to share my lens, the way I see the world. Over the last 25 years, my artwork has given me the space to express my own path of self-discovery. I am so thankful to all the loyal customers and gallery owners who have supported me since I first started.

I feel the paintings I create are a vibrant translation of my world, an opportunity to capture a moment in time and share it with others. I am presently exploring the ideas of nostalgia, community diversity, and finding beauty in the broken. Through my art, I hope to express personal stories of love, joy, and loss: the struggles and celebrations of life that most everyone can understand. Each of the resulting works is rich in its own story and emotional symbolism, inspired by color theory and societal iconography.

I started my business as a professional artist in 2009, creating commissions for private collectors and businesses. Since then, my artwork has been showcased throughout the St. Louis metro area and juried exhibitions, winning multiple awards and “Best in Show” with Webster Arts. I had my first solo art show, entitled “Background Noise”, at Third Degree Glass Factory in 2017, with 500 people in attendance. Six of my original watercolor paintings are installed at the new SLU Hospital on Grand Blvd in St. Louis, MO. In July of 2021, I won St. Louis Magazine’s Reader’s Choice “A-List” for “Best Fine Artist,” and am proud to be a juried member of The Best of Missouri Hands. I am honored to be a participating artist in local charity benefits throughout the year, including “Wall Ball” to benefit Artscope and “Art of PAWS” to benefit Vivent Health. I am currently represented at “Artisans in the Loop” Gallery in St. Louis, MO.

It was through my connections in the St. Louis art community that I discovered my interest and passion for volunteerism. In the last nine years, I am proud to have been a volunteer with MySLart.org, The Blooming Artists Project, the Arts as Healing Foundation, and the Metro Trans Umbrella Group. It brings me sincere joy to know I am making a difference in the lives of people around me and my communities at large. The experiences I’ve had in the last nine years working with these non-profits have given me the self-confidence to speak publicly about my own art career, life experiences and to act as an advocate for others.

As a founding member and Events Director for the Metro Trans Umbrella Group, a non-profit transgender advocacy and support organization in St. Louis, MO, I was the creator and curator of MTUG’s annual LGBTQ+ art exhibition “Transcending the Spectrum” since 2013. Using my voice as a trans man and artist is a true passion of mine, and I feel it is an opportunity to mesh art with an ongoing commitment to social activism and create awareness for the LGBTQ+ community through my own visibility. I hope to use my art and commitment to volunteerism to change my community for the better.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I generally don’t like to complain about my life or broadcast my struggles because I am very aware of my privileges as a white person living in the United States. The systemic racism and oppression of black, indigenous and people of color in this nation is inexcusable. BLACK LIVES MATTER.

My life, however, has not been without its struggles. I was born with heart disease and recently was diagnosed with empty sella syndrome (a brain condition which affects my pituitary, thyroid and cognitive function). My health issues have been a challenge my entire life, but with time, I’ve learned patience and forgiveness with myself. I strive to always DO MY BEST… to paint and volunteer when I feel well enough. I’m so thankful to have the love and support of my spouse, Patrick, and our friends and family.

I was assigned female at birth, and at five or six years old, I realized that I wished I had been born a boy. For most of my childhood and into my twenties, I identified as a “tomboy.” It was not until my early thirties that I met another transgender person and finally had words to describe how I felt inside. I came out ten years ago as a non-binary, trans man and used he/him pronouns. I finally feel like I am who I was meant to be when I look in the mirror. I don’t know what I would have done without the trans and gender-expansive community I have met through my years with the Metro Trans Umbrella Group.

I started my professional art career under my birth name, and then eight years ago, I changed my name and consequently the name on my paintings and my website. I had sincere hesitation and concern that by coming out publicly as trans and asking others to use my chosen name and pronouns, that I would lose the support and interest of my audience. My friends who are cisgender (meaning to identify as one’s birth gender) have learned and grown right along with me and do their best to support me by using my name and pronouns. Most everyone in the St. Louis art community has been open and supportive of my identity – but that isn’t to say that I haven’t run into some blatantly transphobic treatment from a few individuals. I hope by being visible as a trans man to educate, advocate, and normalize the trans experience.

My mental and physical health struggles have been the inspiration behind many of my paintings. Perhaps others may not understand the meaning behind what I paint, but I know what I need to say, and am thankful that my work continues to touch other people.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
I believe I am most known for my love for vibrant colors and attention to detail in my realism paintings. When one of my paintings shows texture, whether actual or implied, I feel it pulls the audience into the piece. I most enjoy working in watercolor and ink, but I also work in acrylic paints, depending on the subject matter. I’ve been painting for 25 years, and my artistic style has continued to evolve, and I imagine it will continue to do so. Whether my work is more expressionistic or closer to representational, incorporating symbolism into my paintings is an essential aspect to most everything I create.

My paintings are never to be taken at face value. They are always representative of deeper symbolic meaning and have a story behind them. I hope to express who I am in my work and to evoke emotional responses from others as a result. For the last eight years, my paintings have been mostly based upon my own photography. I like to imagine that when someone is viewing one of my paintings, that we are sitting together on the sofa in my art studio, flipping through an old photo album together, and drinking tea… just the two of us, as I tell them about the day I took the photo that inspired the painting.

Pricing:

  • Prints in my Etsy shop or at Artisans in the Loop range from $15.00 to $45.00
  • Giclee reproductions on canvas or watercolor paper: $200 – $500 depending on size
  • For original paintings and commissions: $500 to $2,500 depending on size

Contact Info:

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