From a distance, Alessandra Meskita’s artworks appear to vibrate, but closer inspection reveals she achieves the mesmerizing effect by wrapping canvases in yarn and painting over them in a way that yields different optics depending on one’s viewpoint. “I’ve become the Queen of Cord,” jokes the Brazilian artist who began her career as a fashion designer—not surprisingly, her specialty in that realm is crocheted separates.
In the last two years or so, along with her fashion collections, Meskita has been busy creating her one-of-kind mixed media paintings, most of which have emerged from her North Bay Village studio. The canvases tend to be large, many averaging 80 by 160 inches, so fabricating them is a workout. “I have a step-ladder in my studio that I go up and down on multiple times when I’m working,” she explains. “I approach the pieces from many different angles [to create their] kinetic effect, so I need to walk from side to side constantly.”
Meskita’s art career began somewhat out of self-interest. Tired of looking at the blank walls of her home, she dove into her design supplies and decided yarn would do the trick. Some days later, her foyer came alive with a piece that appeared red or blue, depending on how you viewed it. When a friend asked to buy it from her, a business idea was born. The timing couldn’t have been better: “I had just finalized my divorce and had a six-week-old baby to support.”
The next batch of artworks she created attracted the attention of a buyer with an interior design client working on a project in The Bahamas. “She ended up buying nine pieces,” says Meskita. “She needed artworks that would ‘talk between rooms.’” Sometime later, she reached out to fellow Brazilian Paulo Bacchi, owner of Artefacto, who initially purchased eight pieces from her, and soon thereafter began to ask for custom works for his company’s staging projects on a regular basis. Word about her talent began to spread among Miami interior designers, and these days her textured, hypnotic canvases (which can take mere weeks or up to a few months to complete) are in high demand.
“When working with clients, I like to ask about their lifestyles and then I try to create a story based on that,” says Meskita. “I never imagined I’d have a career as an artist, but then again, I don’t think there’s any other artist in the world doing what I do.”
Text by Riki Altman-Yee