BFA student has high hopes for fourth year

Alexa Bjerknes talks inspiration, confidence, and goals for her final year

Grace Chen

The final year of university can be daunting for students, but for Alexa Bjerknes, it’s a time of hopefulness.

Fourth-year Fine Arts student (BFA ’20), Bjerknes talked about her first experiences with art, her current inspirations, and her hopes for the new school year.

Bjerknes is a Kingston local. Growing up here in the Limestone City, she found inspiration for her artwork from the environment around her.

“It’s so nice to go out on nature walks and hikes. Seeing little things like mushrooms and fungi especially are so cool,” said Bjerknes.

Drawing from the natural elements of her surroundings, Bjerknes first started experimenting with art when she was a little girl. She says she was 11 years old, sitting in her living room, when her little sister got a brand-new toy rocking horse.

Watching her sister play with her new toy, she started sketching.

It was her grandma who gave Bjerknes her first compliment on her artwork. Feeling affirmed, the artist continued to work on them.

Ever since then, Bjerknes has drawn inspiration from the world around her.

“I want to paint a pretty picture and have something nice to look at, but I actually want people to spend time looking at it and not think[ing], ‘Oh, that’s just another painting,’ she said. “I want them to see the intricacies in them.”

Bjerknes thinks her fourth year is the perfect time to focus on improving her technique in painting more intricate subjects and details within large-scale paintings.

Currently, she’s working on larger pieces than usual, though they’re still grounded in her signature natural imagery.

“If I were to describe it, it would be on the more realistic side of things. There are a lot of landscapes, earthy colours, and natural colours,” said Bjerknes.

While she draws inspiration from all things in nature, she’s especially enthusiastic about her work focusing on her horses.

Bjerknes’ horses are a major source of her happiness and inspiration. They even factored into her decision to come to Queen’s to study fine arts.

“I kind of threw all my eggs in one basket and went to Queen’s because I live here, and because I didn’t want to be far away from my horses. I love being a Kingstonian,” she explained.

After being at the University for three years, Bjerknes hopes to spend her final year focusing on refining her skills, preparing to enter the working world, and focusing on the themes that matter most to her.

When people view her work, Bjerknes hopes that her concern for the earth shines through and encourages a sense of urgency around environmental awareness.

“One of my pieces was of power lines going through this beautiful landscape and they’re obstructing the view. This draws the attention to the little things humans put out there, like the expansion of housing and concrete cities, so there are a lot of green spaces in my work.”

Now at the start of her fourth year, Bjerknes looks back on her time at Queen’s and the changes she’s made in her personal life.

Moving forward, her goal is to push herself and face new challenges. With that in mind, Bjerknes hopes to create a website to promote her artwork.

“I’ve learned to really take charge of my own wellbeing and experiences. I’ve learned to not be afraid to fight for who I am and [to] be confident in who I am,” she said. 


This story has been corrected to reflect the correct spelling of the artist's last name. 

The Journal regrets the error.

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