Alexandra Karamallis is a New York-based artist and textile designer who earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Textiles from Rhode Island School of Design in 2010. After working in the fashion/textile industry for several years, she felt an intense longing to make paintings. She works primarily in gouache and watercolor with elements of collage, but has recently begun to explore the realm of oil painting.
Alexandra’s Iranian heritage is a central theme of her work. Identifying as a member of the Baha’i Faith - an oppressed minority in Iran - and having grown up in the States, she has never been able to travel to Iran. Longing for a feeling of connection to her heritage and the birthplace of her Faith, she explores themes including the oppression of women, art, expression, and minority faiths within the context of oppressive authoritarian regimes.
Alexandra travels to Cape Town annually and has been captivated by the beauty of the land, vegetation, people and rich culture. She aims to draw attention to beauty in diversity, with particular emphasis on marginalized cultures, through the depiction of gardens, the juxtaposition of nature with architecture, and depictions of the land. She strives to make art that is at once thought provoking and joyful.
Most recently, the injustices with which minorities in the United States are faced have further broadened the focus of her work.
“If the flowers of a garden were all of one color, the effect would be monotonous to the eye; but if the colors are variegated, it is most pleasing and wonderful. The difference in adornment of color and capacity of reflection among the flowers gives the garden its beauty and charm. Therefore, although we are of different individualities, different in ideas and of various fragrances, let us strive like flowers of the same divine garden to live together in harmony. Even though each soul has its own individual perfume and color, all are reflecting the same light, all contributing fragrance to the same breeze which blows through the garden, all continuing to grow in complete harmony and accord.” - ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN (RISD)
2006 – 2010, Providence, RI
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Textile Design. Graduated with honors.
PAIRIDAEZA, Voorkamer Gallery, Chandler House
March 1 - 31, 2017, Cape Town, South Africa
Solo exhibition showing watercolor works on paper centered on the theme of beauty in diversity through the depiction of paradise gardens and the juxtaposition of nature with architecture.
SEWING PARADISE, UCT I rma Stern Museum
June 25 – July 31, 2016, Rosebank, South Africa
Created a diptych of watercolor/collages in response to a collection of Suzani fabrics. The work is a celebration of female creative expression and community in Middle Eastern societies where women are stripped of their basic human rights by oppressive authoritarian regimes.
DESIGNER, Ralph Lauren Soft Accessories, A Division of Echo Design
October 2014 – present, New York, NY
Research, design, and oversee the development of all Polo Ralph Lauren Men’s and Women’s
scarves, hats, and gloves for the Fall, Holiday, Spring, and Summer seasons. Travel annually to Asia and Europe for research and development.
ASSOCIATE DESIGNER, Ralph Lauren Soft Accessories, 2012 – 2014
ASSISTANT DESIGNER, Ralph Lauren Soft Accessories, 2010 – 2012
FREELANCE DESIGN CONSULTANT, WWAKE
2013 – present, Brooklyn, NY
Consult with founder/head designer on concepts and design direction for each collection. Provide design ideas and feedback on specific product.
FOUNDER, Alexandra Karamallis, Knitwear + Jewelry
2011 – present, Brooklyn, NY
Founded my own knitwear and jewelry line. Products are all hand-made in my studio in Brooklyn and have sold at various shops in the New York area, including the Brooklyn boutique, Bird.
DESIGN INTERN, Diane Von Furstenberg
January – February 2010, New York, NY
In collaboration with other interns, designed and produced the hats for the Fall 2010 runway show. Dyed fabrics and garments and created embroidery and embellishment samples.
DESIGN INTERN, Elisa Palomino
January – February 2010, New York, NY
Created headpieces for her debut collection.
Flat-bed manual and industrial machine knitting.
8-harness Handloom, 24-Harness Dobby Loom, and Jacquard weaving.
Design in repeat for piece-goods printed fabric as well as engineered print design.
Flores de los Muertos
They Didn’t Know They Were Seeds