Studio Visit 2

Alex McLeod, Digital

Alex McLeod is a Toronto-based artist. At OCAD University, he studied painting but later switched to computer-generated digital imagery. He creates fantastical that cause the viewer to question this dichotomy between the real and the virtual.landscapes. He has exhibited in Canada, USA, France, Spain, Sweden, New Zealand and Brazil. We met up with Alex at Toronto’s Delta Bingo to talk about his studio practice and process.


My work is 3D rendered landscapes that look like dioramas but they’re not. They’re vacuums of time and space. They’re too messy to want to live in. They’re all janked and janged up. It’s like a video game that you’re playing and it doesn’t even work. There are no clear paths, you can’t do anything. If I was stuck there, I’d kill myself. Dig a hole until I’m dead.

I always had a vision in my head about the kind of work I wanted to make. At OCAD, I studied painting but the work never looked right. Eventually, I got good enough at 3D and then I was like, ‘This is it–hit print.” The move to digital happened when I was renovating a house and all my paints were packed away. I taught myself the software with tutorials and satisfied my art craving by making the work virtually.

It’s not difficult to execute ideas anymore. I’m comfortable with the software and I can make anything, for the most part. I always want to challenge myself, though. I’m learning about javascript and being able to render in real time on the web. It’s a huge learning curve. Right now, I can’t make Drake’s head look like Drake’s real head live on the internet. I would love to be able to do that. You can always challenge yourself with new technologies. I want to keep learning.






My studio is at home, in the basement. There’s three work stations, a 3D printer and I use my laptop too. I have four other computers that just render, in addition to those other computers. It looks weird and scrappy and ghetto right now. There are computers spilled open, their guts are all spilled open. I had to fix a couple computers and put new hard drives in and change the hardware.

I start working first thing in the morning. I wake up at 8 a.m., put on coffee and work until I burn out around 3 p.m. If I miss a few days, it gets in my soul. I feel shitty about myself, I get that guilt. I love working a lot. I love seeing my friends and doing things, but if I was under house arrest, I wouldn’t be upset. As long as I have the internet and I can work, I’m good.

–Alex McLeod, as told to Studio Beat

Photos by Courtney Vokey



Visit Alex’s website here.

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