Bicoastal painter Alexander Yulish‘s latest show, Out of Order, is another step in his evolution toward more abstract work. Born and bred in New York City, he grew up surrounded by art (his mother is famed illustrator and sculptor Barbara Pearlman).
Here, we tapped the style maker to get a glimpse inside his process and find out what’s inspiring him right now.
How do you get your creative juices flowing?
Music is something that I almost always have playing when I paint. My taste in music is all over the place. Lately, I have been listening to Future Islands.
If you could get feedback on your work from anyone, who would it be and why?
Peggy Guggenheim. She was such a pioneer in the art world and a complete original. She had an amazing eye.
What’s the story behind the best gift you’ve ever received?
When I was dating my soon-to-be wife (interior designer Nicole Fuller), she brought me to Big Sur to the Post Ranch Inn for my birthday. She had the staff make the bed with the most exquisite custom sheets with our initials embroidered in oxblood red.
Tell us about your first job and what you learned from it.
My first job was a working at a tattoo parlor. It was fascinating to see what people deemed important enough to have permanently carved into their skin. I learned I never wanted a tattoo!
Which three people, dead or alive, would you invite to your dream dinner party and why?
My grandmother Edith, who died before I was born; my wife’s mother, Diane, who was an artist and passed away before I could meet her; and Robert Mapplethorpe to photograph us all.
What show are you currently binge-watching? What do you love most about it?
“Game of Thrones.” I have to wait each week for a new episode which is killing me, so no binge-watching. I love how awful almost everyone is. It’s so interesting to see how far people will go for power.
The most interesting book I’ve read in the past month was probably…
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. It is a beautiful, twisted, dark story of a family of freaks who live in a traveling carnival. Times are hard, so they get the idea to breed their own freakshow, using various drugs and radioactive material to alter the genes of their children. It’s filled with so many human themes, but most of all the need for love and power.
The architect I look up to the most is ___, because…
John Lautner, because his homes have such a profound balance. His use of sharp edges and natural rock create a relationship between the inside world and the outside. The Wolf residence in Hollywood is one of my favorites–it’s like living in a work of art.
The best piece of advice I ever received was…
From an artist I respected deeply. He said whatever you do don’t take advice from another artist. What works for you will work for you, and what works for me will work for me.