We had the good fortune of connecting with Alexandra Gladsjo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alexandra, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
When I think about risk, it’s something that can definitely be daunting, but I think is one of the most important things in life. Taking risks (with at least some forethought), helps us grow and learn, and can even give us a new opportunity in our life! When I was getting ready to graduate high school and thinking about colleges, I ran into The Art Institute of Colorado. It had everything I was looking for but had a huge price tag and a “for-profit” model. It was risky going into a place where financially the odds could be against me, however that leap of faith led me down the best path. I’ve never stopped taking risks since. I started as a game design major, and then switch gears to photography. When Art Institute closed, I tried another school and didn’t like it, then joined Red Rocks Community College. When the pandemic hit and I got tired of retail, I tried going full send and photograph weddings. While it didn’t work out super well, I’m still so thankful I took that shot and took the risk. Risks teach you to not play your life too safe and encourage you to grow into your potential and dreams.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve been a creative my whole life ever since I was a little kid. I’ve never not been making something! Growing up I used traditional media like drawing and painting, and as I got older I kept exploring and trying new mediums. Eventually, I couldn’t fully express myself with traditional media so I turned to photography.
Being able to have models and position them, and set up the perfect lighting and mood in the studio is like a limitless playground for my imagination! I can now make anything I want artistically, and with ethical software editing, I have a full digital canvas. What I’ve grown to love most though, is film photography. I’ve been using film cameras more to capture moments that are tangible and purely human. I love how film is something you can hold, and how that frame is a moment cemented on a small strip of silver and acetate. Fear not though, both my digital and film cameras get plenty of love and time to make art!
In my professional career, I went into photography as an artist first and have learned how to make a true living at it throughout college. Gaining commercial skills was the easy part, since photography has come so naturally to me. The business side has been the biggest growing pain. Setting realistic goals and learning about how to run a business has been challenging, but with plenty of dedication I’m setting myself up for success! I’m very lucky to have my business in artistic photo printmaking be what I love and have it bring so much joy to my soul.
What I want people to take away from my work is something I think all artists want. To feel inspired, to see my work and feel your heart skip a beat a little, and want to bring that work home with you. I sell prints of my work, all done by my own two hands. If it’s film, I’m in the darkroom and processing every piece the old-fashioned way. If it’s a digital inkjet print, I’m being kind to the printer so every image comes out stunning. The human touch never escapes my work at any point and I would love to share that with everyone.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Colorado and Denver are full of amazing things to do! I would take my out-of-state friends to my favorite ramen place Menya, show them all the idiosyncrasies of 16th St, and take them to the Denver Art Museum. I’d show them to Colorado Mills and point out how much pride Coloradans take in our state with all our Colorado gear. We’d go see a show at Red Rocks Amphitheater, visit Garden of the Gods, and if they felt adventurous enough, hike the Manitou incline! I’d show them DingTea to relax with some boba, and spend downtime relaxing and just being together!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’m going to shoutout several people if that’s alright haha! Tom Finke, Michael Cornelison, and Andy Colwell, thank you for being the best teachers in helping me grow as an artistic person. For reminding me that the only person stopping me from my dreams is me. Paul Weinrauch, thank you for helping me grow my skills to such a high degree, I would not be able to do what I can without your guidance, strong critique, and support! To all of my friends who have been there throughout this journey. And to my mom, my sisters, my significant other Kenny, and my family, for being the biggest supporters since day one. I love all of you so much, and I am beyond grateful every day for all you guys have given me.