Exploring the Dark Imagination of Artist ALEXANDER YULISH
By Eden Herbstman
Artist and actor Alexander Yulish redefines the Peter Pan Complex. To confront his art is to visually address his psyche, to step into a world of complexity, color, edginess, and youthfulness. “You’re always trying to make peace with something in your art,” says Yulish. “With every piece of art, you don’t know if it’s going to cut you at any moment. That’s what excites me. You can either feel something uncomfortable or wonderful. Each one of my paintings are little stories I’m sharing with somebody.” His artistry is his imagination in the purest form, always engaged, manifesting itself through painting and acting.
A Manhattan native, Yulish grew up living in the Chelsea Hotel. His mother is famed sculptor Barbara Pearlman, so he was exposed to the world of art at a young age. “My friends were always twenty years older than me,” Yulish recalls. “I grew up at restaurants having conversations with adults, and I was always surrounded by older artists.” Yulish is candid about his unconventional upbringing and the prompt self-awareness he had from a young age. Spending hours secretly watching his mother mesmerized by her work in the studio, he soon realized how private her art was, and focused on other interests such as film. His experiences as an only child fueled his creative desire to always be in a state of play, a desire that’s still present well into his adulthood. “I try not to go into my studio with emotions that give me the reaction that I need to go paint. I don’t do the best work that way. I’ll know innately when I need to go into the studio. When I come in with a perceived emotion, I don’t think I explore nearly as much as I do when I just want to play and experiment.”
At 25, Yulish moved to Los Angeles, where his first acting experience began after meeting David Lynch–a longtime idol of his–at a dinner. “I had all these multiple personalities in high school. The only way to get them out was by putting them in these characters. I was Peter Loew, Nicholas Cage’s character from Vampire’s Kiss. I wore a suit and all. Some people thought it was hysterical, and others thought I was a fucking freak, which in retrospect maybe made me want to do it more.”
Intertwined in his pieces, a darkness lingers between the lines, bridging the gap between childhood and adulthood. It’s this edge that draws you into his work, a twisted Neverland waiting to be discovered on canvas.”The big picture in life is to go backwards as much as I can,” says Yulish. “What I love about art is that it isn’t linear.”
Alexander Yulish will be showing his work in Manhattan at the Leila Heller Gallery as part of the “Young Collector’s Exhibiton” from December 18th through January 12th. He will also be featured at Gallery Brown in Los Angeles, from January 19th through February 20th.
Written by Eden Herbstman
Edited by Jonathan Metzelaar
Photography by Tasya Van Ree
Design by Eden Herbstman
Alexander Yulish, Los Angeles, California, Photography by Aurelien Levitan
“Walking The Dog,” AYP1012-4, Acrylic on Paper, 22″ x 30″, Photography Courtesy of Alexander Yulish
“Where The Outside Is” AYP1012-29, Acrylic on Canvas, 42″ x 35″, Photography Courtesy of Alexander Yulish