Experienced model, Independent filmmaker, freelance Videographer/Editor, and Actor – Alexander J. Robinson is somewhat of a creative Renaissance man.
His love for the arts extends past modeling, acting and film he is also a drummer, keyboardist, DJ and MC, as well as a graphic designer, photographer, and works on other visual compositions. A native of Belmont, Massachusetts, Alexander attended Wheaton College and graduated Cum Laude in 2009. Since Wheaton College did not offer any sort of film major, Alexander took it upon himself to create his own Independent Film Major, entitled “Film Production in Practice and Cultural Narrative.” He has always loved to be on both sides of the camera and is also fully pursuing modeling and acting. The 26 years old artist has already worked as a Production Assistant on multiple independent films, spending the majority of his time writing feature length screenplays, short scripts, and then soon began embarking on his own endeavors as an independent filmmaker; writing, directing, producing, and editing.
Alexander is very passionate about the work he is doing and uses the various creative platforms within his industry to pursue his ultimate goals. During our interview he had a lot to tell us, including: the great role he believes fashion plays in film, who and what inspires him, how music plays a big role in his life, and how in 5 years he hopes to successfully be able to direct a film while at the same time playing a large role in that same film.
VF: Describe yourself using 4 words
AR: Passionate, Expressive, Determined, Aesthetic
VF: What three items would you never leave home without?
AR: A camera, a DVD Player, and some really nice pants
VF: What do you love about fashion? In what ways does fashion influence your field of work?
AR: The beautiful, elaborate, intricate, and stunning ways in which designers, filmmakers, costume-designers and set-designers (fashion artists, essentially) creatively design incredible ensembles, clothing, and pieces of art that exemplify a certain character for a film and/or role. In fact, not only do these creative fashion designs exemplify certain characters – they define them. The physical appearance – clothing, demeanor, etc. – often times speak directly to the viewer, describing a character in a physical, aesthetic way to communicate an understanding; an understanding of who this is. Fashion is influential through its portrayal in film – stories, cinematic expressions, and sculpting of characters through physical appearance. I have always loved that process and the results that it has wielded – and I love the fact that we embrace the same process.
VF: Do you have any favorite creative people? (fashion designer/artist/poet/etc?)
AR: I have an intense and fairly secret love of Armani – Not sure why I keep it so secretive, but I love the style and the effortless grace. In terms of artists and poets; I’m a huge fan of Edgar Allen Poe and Shakespeare (Poems and Plays),my favorite Playwright is Martin McDonagh, my favorite Screenwriter is Woody Allen (and Christopher Nolan), and my favorite director is Paul Thomas Anderson.
AR: A great deal of my personal inspiration comes from film and theater. Both on-stage and off-stage, artists/actors/directors find themselves consistently creating. I witness the beauty of a certain design in a film, and I am not only enthused, inspired, and moved, but I am driven to strengthen my own creative expression. I must also emphasize that much of my personal inspiration comes from my past (as it does with most artists) – blending the beauty that I see in art, and in the world around me, with what I wish to express from my past. In this way, I amalgamate my own, personal expression with the mediums/modes of expression that are prevalent in the world today.
VF: Does music inspire you to create/design? What type of music are you currently into/listening to?
AR: Without a doubt, music absolutely inspires me to create and design. Music not only inspires me to create, but it also allows me to become more aware of what I’m feeling – what I wish to create, how I wish to dress myself, etc. – so that I can more aptly express myself. As an avid screenwriter and playwright, music helps me to focus on my work and pushes me to realize the creative direction that I wish to take. As a musician myself –pianist, drummer, hip-hop lyricist, beat-boxer, and ‘turntablist’ – music speaks very intensely to me; inspiring me, helping me to focus, strengthening my determination, and urging me to create. I listen to a wide array of music – the ‘hip hop’ genre strikes a certain tone in me; As a side note (however unbelievable), the second genre of music that I most listen to is classical – I am completely enamored by the works of Beethoven, Chopin, and Edvard Grieg. I also love jazz, ‘prog rock,’ classic rock, ‘jam bands,’ grunge rock (IE Nirvana), alternative rock, and ‘industrial’ (IE Nine Inch Nails). Unfortunately, I find myself with a great lack of new music that I love and that inspires me – I find myself consistently listening to older music/musicians. The one band that I have found great joy in listening to in the past decade is ‘Muse.
VF: How did you get into this (business/industry)?
AR: I always had a great and focused drive to become involved in this industry. As a young child, I sought after the role of ‘Professional Actor,’ and eventually found myself in front of and behind the camera. My initial drive to become an actor was based mainly on the concept/joy of expressing myself in front of a camera, and therefore eventually in front of an audience. I have found this overwhelming joy prevalent in my work as a model – I can express just as much with a pose, or a look, or a gaze, as I can with an entire character performance. The joy and the ecstatic creative expression that I find myself in love with is the ability (or at least desire) to express everything that I feel in an aesthetic, physical, beautiful and externalized way. By getting in front of a camera, I not only feel this joy, but I am also inspired by the infinite potential of creative expression. Specifically, I initially got into this industry when I finally decided (a couple years ago) that I wanted to get together a modeling portfolio. I began to network a bit with actors and models I had worked with in film, and got the name of a photographer that was suggested to me. It seemed more comfortable for me to reach bartering arrangements to have professional photographs taken of me, so I edited a promotional video for him in return since I also didn’t know much about how to ‘break into’ the industry. I knew I needed a portfolio, and this was the way that I began that process. So, I took these sets of photos from this particular photographer and began networking more with photographers and, soon enough, I was answering casting calls and collaborating with photographers with drastically different styles – allowing me to build up a larger portfolio with a wider array of styles, moods, etc.
VF: Tell us about your new ventures, films, modeling work – concepts, initial ideas, things in the works…?
AR: At the present moment, I’m pursuing a great deal of creative ventures. Concerning modeling and fashion, I’ve recently collaborated with a few great photographers to put together a series of photographs that highlight a certain study of the human form. Rather than focusing on delivering a distinct ‘look’ or ‘mood’ (which I love!), I wanted to take some time to simply focus on the physical body in a beautiful, artistic and aesthetic way in which the physical form, itself, creates the mood (rather than ‘emoting’ to create a certain ambiance). I love photo shoots where I can utilize my gaze, or a certain mischievous smile, or a certain ensemble that serves to make a statement, but more recently I have been focusing on delivering a beautiful array of photographs where the physical form allows itself to have a gaze of its own. Concerning my other creative ventures, I’m currently in Post-Production on a short, darkly comedic, romantic film that I shot on-location in a restaurant in Belmont Center, MA. While I edit that, I’m also currently In-Production on a feature length ‘mockumentary’ film about Tourette’s Syndrome (of which I suffer – summarized by a neurological condition causing repeated, uncontrollable physical tics. This is another interesting subject – these tics, which are consistently distracting, never-ending, and uncomfortable, are simply not a problem when I am in front of the camera, or playing music, writing, or acting because of the focus that I put into my creative expression. This focus essentially makes the tics go away, and they are not an issue during a shoot.) I am working on those two films, primarily, and I am also working on designing the cover art for a full-length, solo hip-hop album which I have been writing and recording on my own for the past year. I am collaborating with a graphic designer and professional photographer to create the cover art, and then I will release the album. I have some musical hip-hop tracks online – some that I recorded myself, and a few that I recorded professionally in a studio in NYC.
VF: What shows/gigs/promotions do you plan on doing this year?
AR: My gigs/shows for this coming year are still in the planning stages. I plan to finish and release my Mockumentary by the beginning of this next year, and I plan to release my solo hip-hop album by the end of this year.
VF: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
AR: In the midst of a chaotic, yet exhilarating and creativity-saturated film set where I am attempting to balance the act of directing a film while also playing a large role in the film. Many great film directors and actors have successfully pulled this off, and it consistently sounds like an incredible experience, a great challenge, and a difficult maneuver with beautiful results. With my sincere love of fashion, the human form, acting, directing, writing, and creating new and unique images, films, and experiences – this would be my dream, and my vision.
VF: What is your favorite quote or what is a statement/mantra you try to live by?
AR: “I take inspiration from the most heinous of situations, creating medication out my own tribulations.”-K’Naan K’Naan is a very unique hip-hop artist who grew up in war-torn Somalia, and writes/raps about subjects with great depth. Throughout my life, I have often thought about how to phrase that exact statement, which he uses as a single rhyme in his song. The other quote that I live by is more generally well known, but it still rings just as true: ‘Go with the flow.’