Born in New Jersey in 1943, Alex Gnidziejko always had an innate love and talent for drawing and painting. During high school he apprenticed under the artist Caroll Jones Jr., a local artist who used renaissance techniques. During his apprenticeship, Alex learned the traditional method of drawing from a cast with a single light source, giving him an understanding of how to create a three-dimensional illusion on a two dimensional surface. He went on to learn how to use egg tempera and white pigment to achieve three-dimensional modeling with paint. Alex used this technique to create his first portraits, starting with a precise underpainting with white egg tempera over an imprimatura. He then learned how to give further depth to the painting by using transparent layers of oil. Alex was immediately drawn to the process of using egg tempera and oil glazes since it allowed him to create life-like paintings that seemed to glow from within.
In the 1960’s, Alex went on to study at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn NY, and School of Visual Arts in NYC. During these years, Abstract Expressionism was at its peak, so Alex learned how to adapt the renaissance techniques to illustration. Instead of using oils, which took too long to dry, he layered transparent dyes to achieve the same effect. Alex worked as a commercial artist in New York for twenty-five years, illustrating for magazines such as Time, McCall’s, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, New York Magazine, Penthouse, Sports Illustrated, Seventeen, Playboy, Boy’s Life, as well as record companies, corporations, and other advertising publications. He has received innumerable awards, including advertising’s Andy Award and the Society of Illustrators’ Gold Medal. In addition he has two Time Magazine covers in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian.
During this time, art directors gave Alex the freedom to formulate his own ideas of how a story should be illustrated. In the 1980’s this started to change, as large corporations took over the magazines, dictating what the image for the stories should look like. Illustrations gave way to paid advertising or photographic images. With this turn of events, Alex took the opportunity to move to Maine with his family. Transitioning to a rural environment, he went back to his roots and began painting portraits in the renaissance tradition.
For the past thirty years, Alex has devoted his time to painting portraits and still-lifes. He has been honored to have his paintings in many private and public collections, showcasing his body of work at galleries, museums, and solo exhibitions. Alex delights in finding the beauty in ordinary objects through his still lifes and depicting a person’s essence in a portrait. He currently resides in Camden ME with his wife, Paulette.