Olga Alexander is a New York City-based artist who wanted to create art that was affordable for everyone to own. Understanding that financial barriers that prohibit most people from buying works of art, she decided to turn her larger works into small pieces of jewelry that anyone could own and wear. Her company Nodes Collection makes sculptural jewelry that reflects her artistic style: working with color and light. Today Alexander sells her pieces online and in museum shops around the country while she works towards scaling up and adding an additional mass produced collection.
Alexander’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
I miniaturize my installations into artistic pieces of jewelry that everyone can collect and wear. As an artist I want to make art that is accessible for everyone to own. I began this journey by taking aspects of my larger artworks, whether they be sculptures or paintings, and considered how they could be redefined and realized as intimate small objects that capture light, color, form and by extension the wearer’s own imagination.
I am an installation artist and painter. I love color, light and fantasy hybrid forms that are at once organic and architectural. I work with various materials such as wire, fluorescent plexiglas and monofilaments in my large installations. My paintings are color charged and abstract too. I have exhibited my artworks but realized that installations and large paintings are not always affordable or even seen by most people that love contemporary abstract art. I wanted to rectify that with small objects that I would hand make and design using the same materials as I do in my larger artworks but at a scale that would capture the imagination and still be accessible to everyone.
I define success by my ability to collate my artistic ideas into a coherent object that others can relate to and be captivated by. My biggest success is being able to test my ideas by creating multiple different sculptures and then iterating from those artworks in my workshop, until I have an object that is both intimate and creative enough to pitch to museum shops. This has been my artistic process and it has served me well with my jewelry as I like to experiment with materials to reach sculptural forms that resonate and relate to contemporary art.
I would like my Nodes Collection to also include a separate but mass produced line of Node Jewelry. For growth I think this is critical and would help with brand awareness as well; both are issues that are at the forefront of my mind. I am developing various options toward scaling my jewelry and networking to find the expertise in tech that could help me scale and market the Nodes Collection.
I have many ideas of how to scale my product and business but I am still working on the best approach to take with technology and manufacturers and still maintain the original integrity of my jewelry pieces. I have reached out to 3d printers and programmers but found that either the technology for what I want is not yet there or that I would have to change my product designs which would not be cost effective right now. The most significant difficult experience is not being able to afford a separate studio workshop due to multiple jobs that offer flexibility but not an income with which to afford a separate studio/workshop.
As an artist I look at a lot of contemporary art. As a jewelry designer, I can most closely relate to Iris Van Herpen, whose clothing designs utilizes many artistic methods involving different experimental materials and expertise from individuals in fields other than fashion. If I had to directly choose someone who has successfully joined his art practice with his entrepreneurial business that I would hope to emulate in my practice, I would choose Kaws. He has maintained the integrity of his enterprise by combining his love of painting with his love for toys and has done so by reaching out to manufacturers and funders who appreciate that.