DDQ&A: Andy Alexander, The Grim Wreather

October 17, 2017 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF

A couple of months ago, Andy Alexander reached out to me about helping promote his line of custom Halloween wreaths. I get a lot of requests like this, but they rarely meet my two requirements of A) being related to kids/family/pop culture, and B) looking cool as hell. Not only did Andy’s work fit the bill, but he’s also a fellow gay dad! So instead of just sharing a blurb on Facebook, I wanted to dust off the old DDQ&A questionnaire so you can all get to know Andy, his family, and his work.

BONUS: Scroll down after the interview and enter to win one of Andy’s Grim Wreather creations just in time for Halloween!

Q&A with designer dad Andy Alexander

.
Walk me through the highlights of your design career .
I got my MFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena; I studied fine art at UCLA as well. I took my first design classes at Art Center knowing that I’d eventually need a “real” job. After college I worked for Belkin doing interface design for gaming hardware, then for Geoff McFetridge (who I consider a mentor), and then at Napster from 2004-2010. There I started as a designer, working my way up to Creative Director, managing the internal design group. I was laid off during the 2010 recession and decided to carve my own path in both the art and design world. And here I am!

Grim Wreather & family!

The Grim Wreather (center) and family

Introduce me to the family — who’s who, what are their ages?
My husband Brandon and I got married during the 2008 “window.” It was a small ceremony in Greystone Mansion Public Park, performed by my brother. We had been together for five years and it just felt right. We adopted our son Jack through the foster care system; he was three days old when we brought him home, and is now almost eight. We were present for our daughter Rosalie’s birth, for whom we did an open adoption. She’s almost two. Brandon and I are LA natives, living in Pasadena.

Has fatherhood influenced your work in any way? On the flip side, how has being creative informed your role as a father?
When we decided to adopt we made a commitment to be with the kids as much as possible. I was laid off about 10 weeks after Jack came home, so I decided to do freelance and be the primary caregiver. Being a parent has had a huge impact on my work and I feel it makes my work more powerful; there is a psychic weight to it that didn’t exist when I was on vacation… I mean before I had kids 🙂

Being a parent has had a huge impact on my work and I feel it makes my work more powerful; there is a psychic weight to it that didn’t exist when I was on vacation… I mean before I had kids.
.

Have you ever created anything for or related to your children, such as a birth announcement, party invitation, holiday card, mural?
All of the above. I do a holiday card every year. I hate doing them (because Jewish, and because I find them annoying) but in the end I’m always happy I did. The most interesting “family” design project was a book I made about our family to show to pregnant mothers, in the process of choosing adoptive parents.

The Grim Wreather

Sleuthing together on Halloween; daughter Rosalie in the workshop; son Jack on the family Holiday card.

Tell me a about The Grim Wreather — LOVE the name —  what inspired it?
I absolutely love horror movies. I love sets and decorating as well — I always wanted to be a set decorator. When Jack was still at home all day, I would take him to the Halloween stores because he loved all the creepy stuff. My sister-in-law has an October birthday and one day I was browsing the store and I had an “Aha!” moment. I grabbed a bunch of stuff, went home and made a wreath! I gave it to her and she posted it on Facebook and next thing I know all these people wanted one!

Who are your heroes/inspirations/influences?
My favorite [graphic] designers are Alexander Girard and Peter Max. I also love architects and interior designers like Rafael de Cardenas, Commune, Kelly Wearstler, Roman and Williams. My favorite artists are John McCracken, James Turrell, Mike Kelly, Ed Kienholz, Paul McCarthy, Lee Bontecou… I can go on and on about artists. I like my designers and artists weird.

There’s a quote on your site from Dita Von Teese! Can you name-drop any other well-known clients? Who are your top 3 dream clients?
I didn’t get to meet Dita, but I dropped the wreath off at her house and was given a tour. It was absolutely stunning — so strange and feminine. New Line Cinema commissioned me to do a wreath based on Nightmare on Elm Street. David Sandberg, the director of Annabelle: Creation has one. And Rafael de Cardenas has bought three wreaths, which is a huge honor. Top 3 dream clients? Hillary Clinton (I want to make a Trump wreath for her), Kendrick Lamar, and Missy Elliott.

Top 3 dream clients? Hillary Clinton (I want to make a Trump wreath for her), Kendrick Lamar, and Missy Elliott.
.

Do you dress up for Halloween as a family?
We’ve done a couple of family costumes in the past. One year we all dressed up as Spock. Another year Jack wanted to go as Scooby-Doo, so Brandon and I dressed up as Shaggy and Velma, respectively. This year I want Jack to dress as Maui and Rosalie as Moana… but Jack wants to be a murderer or something. I hate dressing up.

Grim Wreather hard at work

Andy hard at work

What’s next for you?
I’ve really enjoy making the wreaths because they allow me the time to take care of the family. Each year the wreaths become more popular and get more and more intricate, which is great since they stoke my passion as a sculptor and as an artist. They also feed my appetite for graphic design as I work on every aspect of the business—photography, the website, all the social stuff. It’s an amazing project that allows me to channel a lot of my creativity.

The Grim Wreather

Some Designer Daddy faves (click to enlarge)

This year my wreaths are going to be at [fashion retailer] Opening Ceremony during the holidays. They’ve also commissioned a limited edition ornament that will be super cool and affordable. I’m also working on a project for another amazing client that will be a holiday takeover of a space; but I don’t want to jinx it, so I’m keeping quiet on that one. Lastly, I will be publishing a book that will be available November 15. It will have all my favorite wreaths and an interview — I’m really excited about it!

Andy’s book will be available for purchase on Blurb. In the meantime, check out his first Grim Wreather book on Blurb.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

DESIGNER DADDY / GRIM WREATHER HALLOWEEN GIVEAWAY

Win one of Andy’s marvelously macabre creations — a Grim Wreather mini wreath! Just fill out the entries in the contest widget below (there are multiple ways to enter).

Contest ends at 12 midnight EST, October 25. Enter the contest widget below — multiple ways to enter!
.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway open to US residents only. Image shown may not be the winning wreath. Winner must reply to notification email with a mailing address within 24 hours, or new winner will be chosen. Prize to be shipped prior to Halloween, with every effort made to arrive by 10/31; however, delivery by October 31st cannot be guaranteed.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I want to thank Andy for taking the time to do this Q&A — between this being his busiest season and taking care of the kids, I know he’s a busy guy! Please go check out and follow all of Grim Wreather‘s social channels, sign up for the mailing list, and tell him Designer Daddy sent ya!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

comments

8 responses to “DDQ&A: Andy Alexander, The Grim Wreather”

  1. Nancy Loring says:

    My favorite horror movie is Friday the 13th. I saw it when I was a teenager and I remember how scared I was.

    • Brent Almond says:

      I can’t remember when I saw the original (with Kevin Bacon!) but I do recall seeing part 3 in the theater and freaking out when a head flew through the kitchen window! Good times! 🙂

  2. Alice Chase says:

    I’m such a baby about horror movies. I’m pretty much horror-lite let’s go with Scream or I know what you did last Summer.

  3. Gil says:

    Im not a huge fan of horror but Blair Witch Project might be my favorite.

  4. Tracy Shafer says:

    Halloween, The original

  5. Amy Malone says:

    Friday The 13th.

  6. Mary. Benack says:

    My fave horrow movie is. Saw

  7. Amy Deeter says:

    My favorite horror movie is the movie “Wrong turn”

Leave a Comment (watch your language)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *