Artist and designer, Loretta Alexandra, born in Louisiana, raised in New York City, currently resides in Dallas County, Texas. She is the mother of two adult children. Besides interests in traveling, writing, and genealogy, Loretta devotes much of her leisure time engaged in one creative project, or another, involving art & design in some form or fashion. Because of her travels and a desire to document her trips, the camera, a natural vehicle, is her constant companion, second only to her daughter Gitiim, whom Loretta refers to as, “my steady, ever ready traveling buddy.”
Loretta began art training at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art, and is a graduate of The Cooper Union School of Art, where she majored in fine arts, with an emphasis on painting. From childhood, through her early twenties, Loretta’s goal was to be a studio painter, and support herself by selling her paintings. But after graduating from art school, life happened!
Having neither the specific training, nor even the slightest vision of such a profession for herself while still an art student, Loretta entered the field of textile design through the ‘back door’. Being a painter and draughtsman, with an innate sense for color, gained her entrée; the technical aspects were absorbed on the job.
In the Manhattan studio of a textile converter, Loretta began as a colorist of patterns for women’s wear. Over the course of a career that spanned thirty-plus years, three years in, Loretta went from studio artist to free-lance designer, and with that change, she switched from designing for apparel— mainly women’s wear—to creating designs for domestics, i.e., bed linens, bath towels, table linens, placemats, and decorative fabrics for upholstery and wall coverings. And more broadly, she identified as: Surface Pattern Designer, since at some point, commissions came in from manufacturers of dinnerware, ceramic vanity accessories, and decorative rugs.
The highlight of her career was working in partnership with friend, fellow designer, and mentor, Carmen Tepalian (Gelabert).
“At the time, Carmen, had many more years of experience, and loads of expertise she generously shared with me, her junior partner. From initial idea, to sketches, to design lay-out and final rendering, all steps prior to putting a design into repeat for production, Carmen was a master!”
Collaborating with other artists on new undertakings, is what Loretta finds inspirational and vital in this phase of her life—retirement. In the spring of 2017, she accepted an invitation from fellow artist, designer and photographer, Alex M. Bustillo, to create a photo page of her travels, and join him on his site, Traveling With Friends. The act of joining Alex, whom she met on a genealogy website and is a distant maternal cousin, reminded Loretta of just how much a joy it is to connect and collaborate with people with whom she shares creative interests.
About Loretta’s future projects: One that is never ending: using her original art and photographs in digital art creations. And, what will follow? A mixed-media creation, incorporating original art, photography, digital art, and text—a mix of poetry and prose—to tell a story, years in the making and still evolving.