Got Hair? Alisa Sikelianos-Carter Discusses Her Masterpieces Featuring Luscious Locks
Meet the Visual Artist who Incorporates Traditional Black Hairstyles Into Mixed Media Art
By Bridney Casillas
Got hair? Well, this mixed-media painter uses hair as the main subject in her pieces. Each art piece created by Alisa Sikelianos-Carter features strands of mane in a detailed variety of beautiful shapes and patterns.
The many different patterns represent a tangled maze where the viewer is transported to a world of their own. Each artwork displays various subjects partially inspired by space-being and mythology.
Being an artist has allowed her to change her life, and it's granted her freedom and expanded her world into a colorful maze of locks. It represents power, imagination, magic, and possibility, to name a few.
She describes her art style as being a figure-based opulent and light-filled Afro-futurist dream.
"While in the studio, I find focusing on one thing at a time along with the peace of being alone and quite very therapeutic," says the 37-year-old.
Sikelianos-Carter says if she could meet any artist, it would be Ellen Gallagher at the reflecting pool patio behind the Clark Art Institute on a sunny spring day in May. She would enjoy reflecting on her career and practices.
Born and raised in Albany, New York, Sikelianos-Carter grew up in an artistic household and grew up around a family of painters, musicians, poets, and carpenters. At the age of 30, she realized that she wanted to work full-time as a professional artist.
Before then, Sikelianos-Carter says she was an artist her whole life, but she did not allow herself to see it as a viable career path until she realized it was her calling. She attended art school later in adulthood because she wanted to understand the fundamentals and network with other artists.
"The idea that I could have a career where I got to paint all day, make my hours, and follow my imagination sounded amazing."
Each artwork depicts traditionally black hairstyles. The images of the hairstyles are grabbed from web and catalog images to create new, refreshing pieces.
She asserts that Black features are a manifestation of a sacred and divine technology that has served as a means of survival, both physically and metaphysically. Black hairstyles are both fascinating and striking to her and are an art all on their own.
Her goal is to create work that honored and uplifted Black people and chose to focus on Black hair because she views it as a symbol of power and rebellion.
"I believe learning about and celebrating other cultures is an important part of being a good citizen in the world. Black people are wildly brilliant and beautiful, and we deserve to be celebrated every day," says Sikelianos-Carter.
Her first-ever piece of art, a series called Crowns, is a mixed media piece partially created in Photoshop. She asserts that she does not make digital collages and insists everything is hand-cut.
She uses Photoshop to correct mistakes, orient, and balance the levels of her collages. According to her, her work has become richer in material and more intricate in detail.
"Art keeps me in the present. My energy is directed into something beneficial to my spirit and ultimately good for the world. It boosts my self-esteem and gives me purpose."
NOTE: Alisa Sikelianos-Carter's upcoming exhibit, MAKING MARKS: Figural Identity, Transfiguration, and Receptive Tactility will be held at the Pent Menti Gallery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On view from February 6, 2021, to March 27, 2021.
You can see more of Alisa Sikelianos-Carter's art on Instagram.
Be sure to visit her website, www.alisasikelianoscarter.com.