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Tumble Down the Rabbit Hole: Immersed in Wonderland

Dive into Artist Alexa Meade’s Whimsical World of Illusion

COVID-19 is keeping us home this Easter weekend, but no worries! We have the perfect indoor scavenger hunt planned for you! Matterport has partnered with Alexa to create a magical bunny adventure in Immersed in Wonderland. Kids and adults alike can be transported to Alexa’s dreamscape and virtually hunt for 10 bunnies hidden throughout. Share the fun and help those most vulnerable during the Covid-19 crisis. Learn more here.


With the human body and 3D spaces as her canvas, Alexa Meade blurs the lines between imagination and reality, inviting us to immerse ourselves in vibrant and whimsical scenes, becoming a part of the art itself. Her work reverses the trompe l’oeil – where the eye is tricked into perceiving a 2D object as 3D – and coaxes us instead to step into the canvas, a 3D wonderland that feels like you’ve stepped into a painting.

We’re excited to have joined forces with Alexa to capture a Matterport 3D digital twin of her incredible 14,000 square foot interactive art exhibition in New York City,  Immersed in Wonderland - a vivid labyrinth celebrating Alice’s adventures down the rabbit hole. We caught up with her to find out what inspired it, how she and her team are doing amidst the Coronavirus global pandemic, and how people from all over the world can still lose themselves in Wonderland while at home.

Q: Was there a moment when you knew that you wanted to express yourself artistically in this way? What inspired you?

A: I took some sculpture classes in college that really influenced the way I viewed space and relationships between objects. I wanted to see what it would look like to put black paint down on shadows. Soon it evolved to painting all the colors as they existed in a 3D space on top of themselves. I realized that by painting in this style, I was able to seemingly collapse depth, making the entire scene, human and all, appear to be a 2D painting.

Q: By capturing these spaces in 3D, you are inviting the world into yours. Tell us what inspired each space and what you’d like visitors to know about them before they dive in.

Funhouse

A: The funhouse began in 2013 as a collaboration between me and my then-partner, Chris Hughes. It is my home as well as a giant art installation featuring rainbows everywhere and explosions of colors. It is there that I develop new types of optical illusions and play with concepts on a small scale that might someday find their way into my main body of artwork. It has evolved over the years and just gotten crazier and crazier. 

 

Immersed in Wonderland

A: In my main body of work, I paint on people and make them look like two-dimensional portraits. This is a fantastic experience for the individual who's being painted, but what about the rest of us? Shouldn't we all be able to have the opportunity to experience this painted world? Obviously, I can't paint everyone, but everyone can have that feeling -- the feeling of being inside of a painting and becoming part of the painting. 

After the overwhelming success of the first Immersed in Wonderland on Rodeo Dr, which had 40,000 people come through in the first month of the exhibition, I knew that this had to get even bigger and better. Thankfully, among the people that came to show in Beverly Hills was Morgan First, the founder of Rose Mansion. Last November, she sent me an email titled “Crazy Idea,” asking if I'd be interested in taking over an enormous space in the heart of Manhattan, and I was like, “Yes, that is just crazy enough to work!” Together, we have transformed a 14,000 sq. ft. space into the most whimsical world possible!

My style of painting has this otherworldly quality to it. You feel like you've walked into a dream. I've taken over this huge space in the heart of Midtown Manhattan and filled it with over 35 different painted vignettes, where scenes from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland have been brought to life. You are transported to all of these different worlds and meet all these fascinating characters that we can bring to life through Immersed in Wonderland. Merging my style of painting with vignettes that show this completely dreamy fantastical world is such an intuitive beautiful way of bringing art and story together.

The exhibit brings out the spirit of wonder in people. It is a space to play and to be inventive. There are endless possibilities -- from falling down the rabbit hole and crawling into the obstacle course where you can play Alice's version of Twister, run on a human hamster wheel, climb on a life-size house of cards, and have a glow in the dark tea party with all your friends. You are bringing the scenes to life!

 

Q: The Wonderland exhibit was scheduled to open March 13 in New York City, the day the Governor declared a shelter-in-place order due to the Coronavirus outbreak. How are you coping with the uncertainty? How can readers support you and artists during these unprecedented times?

A: After pouring so much time and effort into building Wonderland with my incredible team, it was heartbreaking that it didn't end up opening as planned. However, given the current circumstances, postponing was the only choice. The Wonderland space In New York City was made to be completely interactive, encouraging people to explore the surprises that await around every one of its corners. During this time when people aren’t able to be there in real life, I’ve been brainstorming other ways that people can explore it. A collaboration with Matterport is making that a reality! We have created a photoreal digital capture of the space that allows people at home to be transported into Wonderland and discover all hidden details and curiosity within the sprawling space.

More information can be found at www.immersedinwonderland.com and on Instagram.

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