Aleksandra Zee

website: aleksandrazee.com

social media: @aleksandrazee

city: SF/Oakland, California


Describe a real-life situation that inspired you

Driving into Zion National Park about a year ago, and being so tiny in this beautiful valley. Seeing the beauty that mother nature created and longing to only create something a fraction as beautiful. Mother nature floors me and inspires me and challenges me to create.

Aleksandra creates three-dimensional objects from found and re-purposed materials. They range in scale and are heavily inspired by nature and her travels.

Few pieces tell the story of the environment and emotional state that they were created. I personally feel that her work seems to immediately illuminate both upon first gaze. Gazing at her work overwhelms you with tranquility and a need to pack everything up and travel off to be one with nature.

Entering her studio, known as ‘Good Times Studio’, you’re met by the scent of fresh sawdust, magical fairy-lights against exposed brick walls, and her adorable pup, Jack running between blank canvases waiting to be brought to life...


I work with wood and I love everything about what I do. I truly cannot believe this is my life.

As a kid my father would take me to the "Sawdust Festival" every summer in Laguna where local makers have booths and sell their artwork. We went every year, and to this day he tells me that he can’t wait till I have a booth there. Since childhood I’ve known I was going to make my work for others to see.

It all starts with looking at my materials, seeing what I have, what needs to be prepped and where my initial idea is at. For the most part I come ready to the studio with an idea and begin to work. I am not a huge planner, I like to let the work flow and present itself and if I love it, I keep going and If I don't then I rework it till I love it.

I see everything that I am in each piece that I make. I process my thoughts, feelings, love, anger, frustrations all while I make my work. Each piece comes from a place of meditation in being present, so whatever it is that is on my mind come though my hands and into my work.

Henrique Oliveira is an incredible installation artist that always inspires me.

Do you have a favorite piece of work that you created

Yes! My studio mate, Kate Gong and myself created a 16 foot by 9 foot piece for a start up and it was made with walnut slabs and came out so beautiful and better than we could have imagined.

How do you know when you're finished with a piece

When I stand back, look at it,  and it feels good in my gut, if it doesn’t feel good and complete then I know something is missing.


I love where I create, it’s a magical place that allows me to get lost in what I am doing and just work for hours.

What do you have in your studio that keeps you inspired

All the materials in my studio are projects waiting to be made. They keep me hungry and inspired. I also have a huge 8ft by 8 ft piece that hangs above the saw, and it’s the first large piece I made when developing my style. It’s far from perfect, it was so hard to make and weighs a ton, but it keeps me humble and also pushes me to work harder at perfecting my craft.

Is there anything specific that drew you to your current studio

OH MAN those windows and brick, swooooon!


I have always wanted to live here since first visiting as a child. The energy, the music, the art, the people, they are so beautiful and alive and it is so inspiring to be in such a city. Living here most definitely makes me hungry to grow, hungry to learn, hungry to be one step ahead.

What I love about the art community in SF is that it is one of sharing. I have met so many talented artists that only want to share their work and also share the work of others that they are inspired by. I love meeting a new artist that I fall in love with and share their work as well as them sharing mine. It feels like we are a community of makers helping each other survive.

Any hidden San Francisco gems you're willing to share

Nothing is really hidden anymore. I love going to Flora Grub, having some coffee and picking out plants to take home with me. Stopping by Trouble Coffee in the sunset and then walking into General Store and trying to rationalize why I need to buy something.

Spending the day at the beach in pacifica then driving to Hold Moon Bay for some food and wine.

If you could be an artist in SF during any era, which would you pick

To be honest, right now. There has been a resurgence in handmade, American made, and quality made products. I am so excited that this time is now, and I am a maker, and my clients are valuing custom artwork and want to own it.


Who do you create for

I create for myself.

I am not represented by a gallery. I don't think that is what it means to be successful at all. If your goal is that then for sure, but to me my success is making art for a living and being happy. That is what I have achieved so I am successful at what I do, but I am always learning and growing and setting new standards for my work and where I want it to go. I represent myself and that is plenty to keep me going.


The term 'emerging artist' is being used quite often, do you consider yourself ‘emerging’ and if so, how do you personally define the term

Coming out into the world of the arts I guess, I hope to always be emerging with something new and exciting. I don't put myself in a box with labels, I don't like to feel confined. I am a maker and I will always be a maker.


I come from a background of installation and a lot of that deals with impermanence. I really love the impermanence of art work. My work is durable and will likely live longer than I do.

I do think in terms of how someone may love this piece that I made for them so much, that they'll hand it down and it will stay in a home for a long time. But, for me it's more a process and a journey. I make it and get it out and it goes away.

I like to make things the same way I process emotions. I take it all in and I process it. It all comes out and then it's gone, I send it away. That’s a lot of what I do, many  little things that make a big thing very based out of meditation

But, I do love this idea of impermanence so I’ll just let myself be who I am now and hopefully I am remembered. But, I'm really not that focused on being the artist that's remembered forever. I love the now, here, present idea of making art. Of who I am and what I'm doing.

Near the end of his career, Rothko, abandoned all attempts at responding to those who inquired after the meaning and purpose behind his paintings. Finally responding that silence is 'so accurate'.

How would you describe the meaning and purpose behind your work

Take it in, let it be whatever you want it to be for yourself. Labels don't matter, sometimes words don't even matter, just feel it and that is enough.

[August, 2015]