Artist Alexandra Grant on her vibrant new espresso desk e-book

In 1980, artist Alexandra Grant, then 7 years previous, and her mom set out in a purple Chrysler LeBaron headed from Washington, D.C., to Mexico Metropolis. Her mom, previously a professor at Oberlin School, was relocating the 2 of them so she may take a publish as a international service officer.

The Beatles album “Revolver” — one in all two cassette tapes they’d introduced alongside on the journey — performed on repeat. To this present day, the tune “For No One” holds particular significance for Grant. A lyric from that tune impressed a papier-mâché sculpture, “A Love That Should Have Lasted,” that Grant created for a 2008 solo present at L.A.’s Honor Fraser Gallery. {A photograph} of the sculpture, in flip, impressed Grant to trademark what she calls her “LOVE” image — a rendering of the phrase “love,” featured within the sculpture — the subsequent 12 months. These two pictures, the sculpture and the LOVE image, function “the visual point of origin” of Grant’s now-14-year-old grantLOVE undertaking, an initiative that companions with nonprofits to create editioned, love-themed artworks to generate funds for these nonprofits.

Alexandra Grant’s “A Love That Should Have Lasted,” left, and “Second Portal (eye),” at Honor Fraser Gallery in 2008.

(Josh White)

The most recent iteration on this “sourdough methodology” development, as Grant calls it — during which every new undertaking or physique of labor begins with a “starter” from the final — is Grant’s new artwork e-book, “LOVE: A Visual History of the grantLOVE Project,” which got here out Dec. 6. The outsized espresso desk e-book, printed by Abrams’ Cameron Books, is, at its core, about love, nevertheless it’s additionally about art-making, group and giving again. It options pictures of grantLOVE artworks and collaborative initiatives, together with essays by Grant and curator Alma Ruiz. Author-artist Eman Alami contributed poems, curator Cassandra Coblentz an interview with Grant. There are additionally portraits of collectors and nonprofit companions, who supply commentary concerning the undertaking and its affect.

For a e-book about philanthropy, “LOVE” is surprisingly vibrant and lighthearted. It has a number of inserts, together with a comic book by Grant, pull-out short-term tattoos, a sticker and even a cookie recipe.

The e-book chronicles practically each grantLOVE undertaking, spanning prints, work, sculpture, textiles, jewellery, clothes and architectural endeavors, with companions such because the nonprofits Challenge Angel Meals and Coronary heart of Los Angeles. So far, the undertaking has generated greater than $300,000 for U.S. and worldwide nonprofits.

A woman signs colorful artwork

Alexandra Grant signing works at artist RISK’s studio in 2016. Grant donated her copies from the collaboration to nonprofits, together with to the Vincent Value Artwork Museum and the Venice Household Clinic.

(From Alexandra Grant, grantLOVE)

Which can not look like an earthshaking sum of cash over a decade and a half. However as creator Roxane Homosexual factors out within the e-book’s foreword, the undertaking could also be small, however “it is mighty, with incredible reach, a powerful mission, and a ferocious heart.”

Right here’s what Grant needed to say, on this edited dialog, concerning the new e-book, the philanthropic undertaking and the place it’s headed.

Lots of artists speak about “giving back.” However the grantLOVE undertaking, with 14 years beneath its belt, is a long-sustained funding of time, power and sources. The place does your dedication to arts philanthropy come from?

I used to be raised by many nice folks and one in all them was [godfather] Warren Ilchman — he ran the Heart on Philanthropy at Indiana College. My godmother was the president of Sarah Lawrence School, Alice S. Ilchman. And my mother was somebody who cared deeply about worldwide schooling. So I used to be surrounded by political scientists who had been all the time speaking about civic society and the way can we give again to that. Additionally, having gone to Swarthmore School and the Quaker ethos of service. In order my artwork profession in Los Angeles grew and grew and grew, I started asking: Effectively, how do I mix how I used to be raised, fascinated with these points that come from trying on the invoice of human rights and Eleanor Roosevelt as a hero, and transfer that type of pondering into the humanities? To be a civic artist.

Within the e-book you speak about how, early in your profession, you had been feeling stretched by way of giving again. How have editioned artworks been a game-changer in maximizing what you name horizontal philanthropy?

Initially of my profession, within the early aughts, there have been simply fixed requests for artworks to be donated to completely different nonprofits, which had been all very worthy. I’d take a look at the photographers and suppose: Wow, the photographers can donate so many extra works as a result of it doesn’t diminish their studio follow — they only donate from an version. I started to suppose: Was there a method, in my follow, to create editions that may then work not solely to help these arts nonprofits, however to suppose by means of this idea of horizontal philanthropy — of an artist engaged in serving to different artists. As a result of philanthropy so usually is a vertical — [meaning] with strings connected, or the philanthropist has a imaginative and prescient of how they need their cash for use or what sorts of programming they’re going to help. What I imply by horizontal, is: solidarity. That I’m not placing myself above different artistic folks. I’m simply being an excellent neighbor and saying, ‘Oh, I have extra of these that we can sell for funds that can support your project.’ So my thought was: Be extra in solidarity with my friends and smaller nonprofits. And to have the ability to do this as usually as requested.

Alexandra Grant's art book.

Alexandra Grant’s artwork e-book, “LOVE: A Visual History of the grantLOVE Project.”

(Photograph: Ruben Diaz)

Has the grantLOVE undertaking struggled with being taken severely, given its earnestness? And the way do you tackle that within the e-book?

To be completely trustworthy, I believe folks didn’t take it as severely as they could have simply due to so many males within the artwork world and the LOVE undertaking appeared type of cute. So now we’ve given about $150,000 to Challenge Angel Meals, and that’s severe as a result of that turns into loads of scorching meals. The completely different initiatives we’ve labored with, we’ve raised funds and we’ve introduced buddies to their missions. And that, to me, could be very thrilling.

That’s why we included the “Battles” piece [in the book] — to say that it has been very difficult. Not simply due to not being taken severely — I believe we’ve got been, particularly as the cash has change into bigger items — however as a result of, in truth, social media and a lot enterprise is based by domination techniques and by a scarcity of kindness, whether or not it’s tabloids or social media itself, the algorithm pushed by hate. Love is the situation of our time. I consider it in enterprise, I consider it in how we get alongside, I consider it in communication. To me, love is just not hierarchical.

You’ve gotten a really deliberate instructional agenda, with the undertaking and the e-book, close to arts entrepreneurship for ladies and different minorities. Are you able to speak about that?

European buddies are all the time, like: ‘What? American artists have to raise their own funds?’ It’s a significantly American [issue] — with out state funding, artists actually must change into entrepreneurs. So this was a automobile for me to show.

What I really like concerning the LOVE undertaking is that it’s actually a communication undertaking. For me, the LOVE undertaking is a option to mannequin, for different artists, ‘here’s a really clear method of the way to speak about cash, create sources for initiatives, and to mannequin that locally.’ As a result of I believe, finally, the human rights points which are within the arts are arts schooling not being given to the individuals who want artistic schooling probably the most. And fantastic arts schooling persevering with to not educate enterprise abilities to school rooms which are largely ladies and different minorities. So it’s my hope, as a feminine artist, to point out we will speak about cash, we will help one another, we don’t have to present away from our artwork studio practices with a purpose to be a part of a circle of group.

Your individual artwork follow spans many mediums. However a lot of your work is knowledgeable by — and infused with — textual content. How a lot of that connection to language stems from rising up between Mexico, France, Washington, D.C., and Spain?

I believe it was knowledgeable by switching languages and realizing all of us have languages inside which are completely different from the languages which are round us, particularly if we’ve migrated. However I additionally basically consider that we’re all equal. That I’m not above another individual. This worry of the opposite is so miserable about people, that worry of different is so sturdy, particularly now with the media and politics being what they’re. These are the 2 issues I’d say a global childhood instilled in me, a humanitarian world view and the expertise of not talking languages.

A woman sits on a chair in front of a painting

Alexandra Grant with a piece from her solo present, “Mantra,” at Optimistic Artwork Heart in Seoul, Korea in 2022.

(Sung kyu Park)

Taking language one step additional, you’re additionally a e-book writer, having launched X Artists’ Books in 2017 along with your boyfriend, Keanu Reeves. Why begin a e-book imprint?

X Artists’ Books was born from an actual want I discovered in my life, and in the lives of many friends, to discover a residence to publish artists’ books. Which there are such a lot of fantastic methods to outline, however they’re actually artwork works sure between covers. Within the first 12 months, we printed 4 completely different books; we’ve printed six books this 12 months alone. We actually care about artists getting the e-book and the communication that they need with a purpose to assist construct their profession, [taking it] one step farther from the place they’re.
You went to highschool with creator Roxane Homosexual, misplaced contact as adults after which reconnected about 10 years in the past at a writers convention in North Dakota. Why did you will have her write the foreword to the e-book?

We had been out of contact from about [age] 17 to 30. However we had been on a panel collectively and bought to hang around at this convention. We’d been watching one another for fairly a while and the way the opposite individual included all of this sort of loving habits, whether or not by means of instructing, enhancing, encouraging youthful artists and writers. So we had been already mutual followers. Once I bought into the publishing enterprise with X Artists’ Books, that drew us even nearer as a result of then I used to be working extra in her world as a writer. So it was a no brainer. Once I consider Roxane and the best way she thinks about group, each in her private life and the thought of the civic artist, she emblematizes that to me.

The place is the grantLOVE undertaking headed?

The e-book makes it very clear I’ve a long-term imaginative and prescient for the undertaking. That in my lifetime, the LOVE image is simply gonna be one thing that I’ve enjoyable collaborating with folks on, and creating, after which once I move I’ll depart some directives. However my hope is that it’s going to all the time be an emblem affiliated with eager to be in solidarity with different creators. My hope with the e-book, is that individuals will suppose, ‘Wow, this is amazing, I want to do something similar in my community.’ It’s a message spreader. It’s a type of partnering. So whether or not [that means] tons extra LOVE initiatives, or extra folks wanting to make use of their artwork for being useful to others, in ways in which others need, then incredible.