Alexis Marie Chute takes photographs. She sculpts. She paints. She makes films. She writes.
And she helps others get their art to the masses. Chute and her husband, Aaron, founded the InFocus Photo Exhibit and Awards a decade ago. What started as a celebration of local photography has turned into an exhibition that features shooters from across the country.
“Ten years ago, I was sitting across the table from my husband and talking about my photo career,” recalls Chute. “I remember applying to a medium-size gallery in Canada, and they got back to me and said ‘Your work is great, but you need to have more big galleries listed on your CV.’ It was like a chicken and egg — how do you get these big galleries on your CV, unless these big galleries take a chance on you?”
The photo exhibition found a permanent home six years ago, at the Renaissance Edmonton Airport Hotel. But Wild Skies Gallery isn’t just about the annual photo show; it’s dedicated to giving artists the chance to show their work throughout the year.
She’s released several books, including the Eighth Island young-adult fantasy series. Chute is working on a coffee-table book on pressed flowers and plants called Summer of Alberta’s Herbarium. She’s been commissioned by the Multicultural Heritage Centre and the Town of Stony Plain to write a book about the historic murals that can be found throughout that burg.
Her view on writing is the same as she views galleries; if you wait to be discovered, you might be waiting… forever.
“If no one wants to show your artwork, if there’s no place to play your music, create your own space, if you don’t get that grant, screw the grant. Do it anyway.”
The Chutes have three kids, but lost a son, who passed soon after birth. Alexis documented the journey of grief in her book, and film, Expecting Sunshine.
“I feel like the arts saved me,” says Chute. “Writing and painting and sculpture, I feel those are the things that helped me come alive again. And I think, a decade later, this is what I cherish and guard and protect in my life, because I see how important it was.”