Arts

TCU Student Takes Quarantine Crafts to the Next Level, Creating a Budding Art Career — Meet Alexis Ho

She Idolizes Ashley Longshore and Works to Make Dorms Beautiful

BY // 06.28.20

Fashion-forward Alexis Ho is spending these coronavirus times creating a fabulous new art collection in her childhood home in Houston.

The 20-year-old emerging artist is a junior at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. Last fall, she stepped forth in the art world by indulging in a trending craft on social media — marble paintings — in her 130-square-foot dorm room. Adding her own artistic edge, she painted a gold-leaf Chanel logo on a marble canvas.

Alexis Ho’s “Coco clouds”

Unsure if her painting was good enough to be sold, she worked up the courage to promote it in her college dorm group chat. In a matter of seconds, she sold her first piece. Fellow students hit her inbox with requests for customized paintings for their own dorm rooms.

After she joined a sorority in her sophomore year, Ho’s personalized paintings became a hit, with a number of new admirers buying her work.

The Pandemic Inspires a New Collection

COVID-19 sparked the  idea for Ho’s most recent collection: custom Pop Art collages.

Alexis Ho presents her newest Pop Art collage collection
Alexis Ho presents her newest works, the Pop Art collage collection.

Forced to quickly leave campus when the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns went into place, Ho only had time to collect a few essential belongings, leaving her art supplies behind.

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  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)

During the stay-at-home times, she came across another trendy craft on social media: Pop Art collages. She discovered Photoshop and taught herself how to make the collages.

After looking at other artists’ versions of the trend, Ho took matters into her own hands and embarked on a new artistic journey.

Alexis Ho’s Artistic Process

When Ho devises a collage, she asks clients for three aesthetics that describe their personality. Just like that, magic emerges.

Alexis Ho’s “Nikki”
Alexis Ho’s “Nikki”

The tedious process behind creating a customized collage is no headache for Ho. She finds the stepping stones of a new project meditative and stress relieving, as she spends hours scouring the Internet for the perfect images.

With only a few descriptions from her clients, Ho brings a blank canvas to life in a new collection called Lovebug. “Just how lovebugs remain together even in flight, customers will always remain with my art because of its personalization and what it means to them,” she says.

Teen Power

A majority of Ho’s clients are teen girls who share common aesthetics: high-end fashion, flashy shades of hot pink and aqua blue, and a whole lot of glitter.

Alexis Ho’s “Alexis”
Alexis Ho’s “Modern Psychedelia”

Inspo from Other Artists

Alexis Ho idolizes Pop Art queen Ashley Longshore for her genius blends of pop-culture figures and American consumerism.

Ho embodies Longshore’s strong-willed mindset while painting — totally unfazed, with heavy amounts of glitter and loud colors.

Ho also draws inspiration from Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami, with whom she shares a similar artistic journey. Murakami studied the animation industry in college, but he grew tired of the art in Japan and created his own genre called Superflat.

He even recreated a famous Japanese Karajishi and turned it into smiley-faced flowers and colorful skulls. Now his art is known worldwide, and the international talent has famously collaborated with Louis Vuitton, Kanye West and Billie Eilish.

In the same sense, Alexis Ho recently realized she felt unfulfilled in the premed track and decided to switch to psychology. Now that this gifted artist has more time and energy to pursue art, she feels happier than ever before.

Alexis Ho presents wondrous piece, “Izzy”
Alexis Ho presents her wondrous piece “Izzy”

An Artist’s Humble Spirit

Ho is committed to keeping her work affordable to all. “I know as college students, we are often scrambling for money, so I only charge for the art supplies needed for the piece plus $10 for the work done,” she tells PaperCity. “I know other artists that would charge way more and double the price, but what makes me happy is the art in itself.”

Our full interview with Ho reveals more.

PaperCity: I see you showcasing and selling your art on Instagram. Do you think social media platforms are good places to reach a large audience and make a profit off paintings?

Alexis Ho: Absolutely. I think our generation is very addicted to social media. Young kids like us downloaded Instagram at such a young age and have been gaining followers ever since.

With that said, I think social media is a great platform for aspiring artists to show and sell their work. When my followers repost pictures of my art on Instagram, I will get direct messages from new clients and gain new followers.

I haven’t done this yet, but you can change your Instagram profile to “Instagram business,” and you can pay to gain more of a following — but I’m not ready for that yet.

PC: Do you consider painting a hobby, or do you see this as a future career?

AH: I used to consider painting just a fun hobby and a form of stress relief from premed, but since I switched my major, I am much more relaxed.

I have so much more free time where I can explore my artistic abilities. Often after class, I’ll go to Michael’s and shop around for art supplies and go back to my dorm and make art. And, my roommates are totally fine with me leaving my supplies scattered around the living room because they know it makes me happy.

I started to believe art could be more than just a hobby for me when I started getting texts from people saying I have raw talent and need to do something with it. My nursing friend recently texted me, “This is your calling. You need to do something with art. You shouldn’t just throw it away.”

PC: Most of your clientele consists of college students. Have you had others interested in buying your art?

AH: Yes. As a matter of fact, an old friend’s mom, who ran the Strake Jesuit High School auction this year, asked me to put one of my paintings in it. So I painted a black marble background with a teal Chanel logo on it.

Alexis Ho’s “Friday night lights”

I didn’t think it would sell because it was during COVID-19, and it was a silent auction, where people walked around and bid on it. But she texted me yesterday and told me it sold for $110. Usually I would sell it for $40.

This really gave me hope that there is an actual demand for the art I’m making and that there are more people than just my friends that want my art.

PC: Do you think people should pick up painting as a hobby during quarantine?

AH: Absolutely. Especially during quarantine, we have so much free time, it’s good to pick a hobby and learn about it. In fact, I think everyone should do art.

I suggest that when college students pick an elective, they should take an art class. The art class I took freshman year was the best time ever.

We would have studio time every day and sit at a big round table where we would paint and chat. By the end of that semester, I met so many people from that class that to this day I still say hi to if I see them walking on campus.

Alexis Ho’s self-portrait made in art class at Texas Christian University

PC: Any advice for people starting out painting, especially during COVID- 19?

AH: I think everyone should just go for it with full force. I think if people start painting, they should make mood boards on Pinterest and post whatever art makes them happy on Instagram.

I can spend hours strolling through Pinterest. It’s so fun because it will show you similar ideas based on what you find. I will search for “Gucci logo,” and before I know it, I have fallen down a rabbit hole and ended up in Gucci wonderland.

PC: Insight on up-and-coming projects or collaborations you’ll be working on?

AH: To be completely honest, I have no idea. Part of what makes me the artist I am is going with the flow and following current social media trends.

But I hope to make more colorful Pop Art for people’s dorms ,because everyone deserves to have personalized art.

My ultimate dream is to open a college dorm store that sells my art, trendy accessories such as neon signs, and bedding. I don’t think that there is one store that sells all of these items together that don’t look cheesy.

I also think there’s a stereotype that dorms are supposed to be small and dingy, so I want to combat that idea by opening a store that can showcase trendy and colorful dorm accessories.

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