Sketchbook: Alicia LaChance Mines Folk Art to Inspire “New Village”


Alicia LaChance’s “New Village” quite literally reflects layer upon layer of artistic tradition.

The fresco, created on a canvas 60 inches square, presents color palettes and folk symbols from across the globe – overlapping in a dazzling radial pattern.

LaChance, an artist from St. Louis, began the piece that would become “New Village” in 2011. She’d been contemplating the blending of cultures – past clashes, future possibilities for peace. One late night in her studio, she gave her jumbled thoughts physical expression by cutting up folk art pictures and assembling them into a collage.

“I literally cut strips of paper and started to line up the different colors and symbols on the studio wall,” LaChance said. “This started out as, ‘I like this from one culture and this color palette from this culture.’”

She refined the initial collage into a multicultural remix all her own. She uses acrylic, spray paint, oil paint to achieve her desired textures – sometimes mixing her own pigments, too. The end result is a 41-color mixed-media piece that LaChance says pulses with the “rhythm of the world at large.”

“I literally cut strips of paper and started to line up the different colors and symbols on the studio wall.”
Alicia LaChance

LaChance teamed with Pele Prints to produce a handful of lithographs of “New Village,” one of which was acquired by the Estee Lauder New York collection.

A former apparel designer, LaChance began painting a decade ago and is entirely self-taught. In 2004, she co-founded Hoffman LaChance Contemporary in St. Louis. A number of her pieces were recently included in the Midwest edition of “New American Paintings.”

LaChance gave us a peek into the creative process that resulted in “New Village” and some of her other recent works.