Alixandra Jade remembers always drawing as a kid and asking her mother to rate the outfits she designed. But she didn’t know being a mural artist was an option.
“I was a practical little girl who loved art,” recalls Jade. “And I thought fashion design was something I could make a living at.”
After she finished a Bachelor of Design with a minor in business at the University of Alberta, Jade worked for a wedding planner. Then she heard that Lululemon was looking for an artist to do in-store chalkboard art with liquid chalks. She gave it a try. Several months into being the “chalk chick,” Jade got more opportunities to work with interior designers and started painting murals.
Coming from a supportive family with a business background, it didn’t take Jade too much time to start her own art design business. She started Alixandra Jade Art & Design Co. in 2016 after her first commission in Calgary, then switched to full time in 2019.
“My boyfriend would tell his friends that I started to paint on walls,” says Jade. “Then he’d have to show them pictures, and his friends would be in so much surprise and relief, saying, ‘Oh, so she’s actually pretty good!’”
Although Jade doesn’t usually ask her friends to check out her new murals, it’s hard to hide a gorgeous wall in Edmonton. The floral ones she painted for Manchester Square are many people’s favourite. She also recently paid homage to Korean folk art in a feature wall mural at Seoul Fried Chicken’s downtown location.
When she paints outside, Jade usually has her headphones on. She wears an outdoor hat, preferably without sunglasses, when dealing with similar tones, and spends an average of nine hours painting in peace. If someone stops by to talk, she takes time to chat. But she spends the majority of her day in hyper-focused artist mode, allowing her to finish those layers of colours.
“It’s a weather-dependent job, and I’ve become quite good at the weather radar. I can tell if it’s going to rain from the wind,” says Jade, who also remembers the time she hustled to finish the floral mural on the patio of Central Social Hall. “That was a May full of rain.”
The most recent project Jade is working on is in Brewery District, at the back of The Art of Cake. The 50 metre-long, four metre-tall mural will be the longest mural she’s done to date. In collaboration with 76 Group, the developers of the Manchester Square, Jade plans to use vibrant bright colours on the wall to light up the neighbourhood.
“I have a love-hate relationship with my murals. After spending weeks staring at the same wall, it usually takes me another week to regain my senses. But it’s okay. A week after, I would look at the mural again and be able to love it,” says Jade, who’s ready to get back to painting after a short break in the afternoon.