This month, we are spotlighting some of our female members and artists to celebrate Women’s Month!

Meet artist Alexa Joan, one of our beloved consignment artists and members here at WNYBAC! A Buffalo native and longtime entrepreneur, Alexa has been a part of our community of artists here for over 5 years now. Her husband, Edreys Wajed is part of the board of directors at WNYBAC, so she has been connected with us for a number of years.

Alexa has been creating jewelry for about 10-15 years. She started with beaded jewelry and wire-wrapping type jewelry before she decided to label herself as an artist and begin creating her own personal artwork. Alexa said she calls herself an artist because she wanted to “[free] myself from the judgement and subjectivity of other people telling me ‘art is only this.’” This put her on the developmental path as an artist, to look for “different things to draw on and execute her meditation-type abstract work on to.” She created the beautiful Fleathers earrings that became part of the WNYBAC store and sit on display. They are hand-painted, hand-cut, one-of-a-kind, original earrings.

The idea for Fleathers came from her husband, who is also a visual artist, when he suggested she start painting on leather. “I fell in love with drawing on leather and I started creating earrings.” Alexa said that the purpose of them to her was to create something “new and different and exciting, something that might be visually pleasing but also pretty sexy and fun to wear.” She also found that there is actual need for these types of earrings because they are big and not too heavy on our ears.

As a part of the WNYBAC community and a member since our inception, Alexa has been coming to workshops, her friends’ exhibitions and to support local gallery openings. She has always enjoyed the activities that WNYBAC has had to offer, from opportunities for teaching or learning, to opportunities to exhibit work or support others.

Alexa believes Buffalo is a perfect place to run a business now more than ever before, and she believes the art scene is booming and it is a good time for artists here.

She said, “As a female business owner I think we need to do more of (business ownership) but we are in a really good position to work together and to really make huge statements and huge strides not only in Buffalo, but nationwide and throughout the globe. And as an artist again there’s just a lot of opportunities and recognizing that creativity and sharing of yourself—of your creativity, not only benefits you, but benefits others, is something that I think allows people to breathe a little easier when it comes to creating things.”

Fleathers Earrings displayed at WNYBAC

This Women’s Month, Alexa leaves us with three things we should internalize: Firstly, we should, as women, understand that it is okay to be selfish in the respect of self-care because if we are not ourselves well—mentally and physically and spiritually—we can’t help anyone else. Secondly, we should create and share. It’s important to create worlds where we share whatever we can, whatever we have, because it is of help to someone and it is an inspiration to someone else. And thirdly, we should just support each other, share that love, share that creativity.

See more of Alexa Joan’s work and practices on her website!