We had the good fortune of connecting with Alex Ivey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alex, what do you attribute your success to?
Success is a funny word because it has no real meaning. One artist’s success is another artist’s mediocrity. I used to think of success as accolades and public recognition–all the trappings of American capitalistic hero worship. AKA the “great mind” myth of the singular genius who is so important that the world bows down to him or her and elevates their talent to the level of religiosity. Financial freedom quickly follows in this fantasy. As does travel, stunningly attractive sexual partners and elegant apartments in vibrant cities. And it all must be done before the age of 30, otherwise what’s the point? This fiction is poison in disguise and it kills thousands of talented artists before their time. Success for me is my partner, my daughter and being peaceful enough to work, love and like the things I’m making. Public success is totally dependent on some other individual hearing or reading or seeing your work at the right time, liking it and deciding that you are the person who will get the deal, the gallery show, the part, or what have you. Nothing is more out of your control. How you go about it everyday is what really matters.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m most proud of my writing. Photography makes me happy and take pride in it but it is just another outlet for me. Writing is the thing I’ve done the longest and if I’m being honest, I’m best at. It is incredibly taxing to write a manuscript. Be it a novel, a show pilot, a feature film, short story, poems, etc. it can cost quite a bit. I think after my last manuscript draft I took a year and half off from writing anything of real substance. But life like writing has seasons. Sometimes I am an “ass in the chair” writer for ten months. I’ll go through periods of just wanting to spend time with friends and traveling (whenever I can). Or I’m shooting and producing with a passion. I think the world has a propensity to define talent in one way for the purposes of marketing. As if one can’t be good or even exceptional in many different disciplines. I think the lesson I’ve learned is not to put too much faith in the concept of “brand.” I’m not a “brand” that offers consumers a product. I’m an evolving person on a spinning rock, hurtling through space around a nuclear fire.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Depends on the city. New York City is home, so … in the east village, dive bars. Cocktails in midtown, pizza everywhere, central park in the fall, MOMA, the MET, Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe, KGB reading series, Brooklyn in the summer. It would take a year to show someone what New York is sort of like. A lifetime to truly know it. In San Francisco: Quiet Lightning reading series, Saturday Night Special reading series in Berkeley, the Mission mural walk, the beauty of Marin county, the history of Oakland’s justice movement. Every city has its own brand of seduction. San Francisco defies a summary. I’m not going to get into Paris. I’ll leave that to Shakespeare and Co.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
You don’t have enough internet for this whole list. I will say that the people who are near and dear to me know who they are. Special shoutout to my love Josey Rose, our daughter Stella, mom, Frank, Laura, John, George, Ron, Olivia, Tracy, Roni, Bobby, Jamaica, Chris, Annie, Michelle and … like I said, this list could go on forEVER.