Alexandra Knie // multidisciplinary Artist // Valencia, Spain
Alexandra Knie is a German multidisciplinary artist and university lecturer with a degree in
Fine Arts, currently living and working in Valencia (Spain) where she most recently has
been awarded an Artistic Research Fellowship from the Consorci de Museus de la
Comunitat Valenciana. Her special interest is the artistic investigation of the intersection of
art and science.
She focuses on the transfer of microscopic and macroscopic visualized images into hand
or machine embroidery, which links two complementary areas: modern science and a
historical textile technique.
In addition to some important solo exhibitions, Alexandra Knie has participated in several group
exhibitions in Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the USA, among others.
1. I began my #CraftWithConscience series as a way to simultaneously promote
the work of other makers and to discuss the complicated issues surrounding creative
inspiration and developing one’s own visual vocabulary. The internet is an ever growing
fixture in many artists’ lives and businesses, could you talk about the role the internet plays
in your artistic and professional life?
Mainly I use the internet to look for suitable calls for exhibitions worldwide. This takes
much time, because I try to promote my artwork through displaying in interesting places.
Not every call for art is serious. You have to read carefully all terms and conditions and to
check out the institutions’ review. And of course, you have to be aware that not every
application will be accepted in the end. Social media like Instagram is a new chapter for
me right now. I see it as an interesting platform to establish contact with creative makers
and artists and I am positively surprised by the sometimes unexpected feedback.
2. Where do you find inspiration for your work? In what ways has the internet and/or social
media impacted your design process?
Besides drawing, silkscreening and painting, I use hand and machine embroidery as an
emphasizing stylistic device in my artwork. In the long history of embroidery, it was always
used as a form of decoration and narration to valorize religious or profane clothes and
home textiles. I try to use this potential of collective memory to subvert the outwardly
visible aesthetic surface of embroidery by illustrating dangerous viruses that are not visible
to the naked eye. Therefore, I use scientific microscopic illustrations and background
information offered by the internet or other media to create a metaphoric image of
embroidery put into multiple layers beyond an empirical logic. So I understand the internet
as one of the main instruments for my artistic research, besides books, exhibitions and
3. How have you, as an artist, found your creative voice?
Before I started with my scientifically influenced art, I did a wide range of figurative and
abstract paintings. It was a challenging process to find out my artistic intention and to be
satisfied with my work. Just at the age of five I knew that I wanted to become an artist.
Besides drawing nearly every day, I was doing also silkscreening with the help of my
father, and I loved it. Twenty years and a diploma in Fine Arts later, I was teaching
silkscreening at the University of Applied Science in Aachen at the department of design.
At that time, I noticed that the cooperation with the students positively influenced my
artistic process to change my point of view and to find a new topic to work with. Finally, I
started to investigate in the field of microcosm because of an interesting phrase a friend
once told me when she was writing her doctoral thesis in medicine. She explained that she
had to “design a virus“ to find out its effect against a special type of cancer. This sounded
like science fiction and grabbed me until today. I consequently became a designer of “art
4. Sites like Pinterest and Instagram are popular places for artists’ to share their own work.
They also act as public visual archives, often leading to creative work by others that walks
the line between ‘inspiration’ and ‘infringement.’ Have you encountered copies of your
work online and how does it affect you? What are your strategies for dealing with it?
Up until now I have not found direct copies of my art. I think you have to be aware that a person
at the other end of the world or even your neighbour could have ideas similar to yours
but with different focuses and personal background. Someone who deals with copies is
annoying, but I think it will also be of short duration because in my opinion, ideas adopted
from others cannot be developed further with the same creativity and quality as by its
5. Do you have any advice for aspiring artists or creative business people?
To reflect critically someone’s art process and development in order to avoid exogenous
influence by unprofessional or non constructive advice. Trust and make it clear to yourself
that you are the only expert in doing your art or running your creative business in order to not lose sight of what you want to transmit or reach with your work.
6. Do you have any favorite blogs, artists, or Instagram accounts that you’d like to share?
There are a lot of famous artists I admire and I can learn from, like Nancy Graves, Anni
Albers, Sheila Hicks, Agnes Martin, Noa Eshkol and Ernesto Neto, to point out some of my
favourite ones. But I also follow the creative and inspiring people on Instagram as your
account, Sarah and let me point out others:
Photos by Danijel Kostadinovski