We had the good fortune of connecting with Alexandra Hansen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alexandra, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I’ve started a few businesses and my intention behind each of them boils down to the same thing – love. I know that sounds corny, but it’s true. When I started my coffee company I started it because coffee equals community. And it was a great way for me to reach a lot of people within our community and to do my small part in making them feel welcome and loved.
Same intention when my husband and I opened our small tap house. It was so I could give back to a town that had been so integral in raising me.
I wanted to be a small business owner to be creative. Creative in a sense that I could have fun with my marketing and roll out new item and ideas without having to run it by anyone first. I always think of something my town or area needs, lock in an idea of how it will feel and operate and it all just seems to come together in the end.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I attended Oklahoma State University to pursue art. About two years into the program my advisor said I needed to pick a path of graphic design or teaching art because studio art is dying – neither of which inspired me. I switched my major to business marketing, went another semester and then dropped out.
I didn’t paint, draw or create for almost 6 years until COVID hit. At this time I owned two little coffee shops and the pandemic really filled everyone with uncertainty, including me. The only way to get all of the emotions I was feeling was to create. I made a series of abstract pieces and I felt myself feel 100 lbs. lighter just from being able to get the emotions off of my chest. I asked to hang the series at a local wine bar. Most of my pieces sold the first night they hung and I realized that I could do art – what I had always wanted to do as a little girl.
With the confidence I gained from the abstract series I dove into painting wildlife. Every piece I made quickly sold and found it’s forever home. Within a year of picking the paint brush back up I sold both of my coffee shops and started painting full time.
While I have experience owning brick and mortar businesses, nothing could have prepared me for becoming an artist. My background in marketing and business helped me identify my niche, my market and how to promote myself, but developing skills to become a better artist is challenging. The hardest part about becoming an artist is being able to recieve criticism from some of the greatest of our time and being able to apply the feedback to grow all while keeping your unique voice artistically. It’s a serious mind game, but it’s also a beautiful journey.
Some of the things I’ve learned as an artist is to always stay true to yourself. As a creative, I escape into this world of oneness and some of my most beautiful work is developed from this space of inner peace. Art critiques aren’t always right and should always be listened to with an open mind. Sometimes my best judges are children because they receive the world through a lens of joy that grounds us as artists.
My work is heavily influenced by my ranching and rodeo background. Animals were always a big part of my childhood and continue to be into my adulthood. Wildlife knows nothing other than just existing. And for me, in a world where we are constantly chasing and moving, it’s nice to be reminded to just take a moment to exist and be. In a lot of my acrylic work I use stippling to bring light and life and it’s always a special moment when collectors or art enthusiasts take the time to walk up close to my work and discover the magic. Take time to stop and enjoy the world around you and that’s what I want to achieve for my viewers through wildlife.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout goes out to my husband. He has never told me I couldn’t do or achieve something. He has been by my side to run ideas past and to dream big with. He has taught me that life has no limitations and he’s given me the safety to know failure is just an illusion.
And of course, I want to thank the communities that have tirelessly supported every endeavor I have ever dreamed of chasing. We are nothing without our communities and people who cheer us on.