As a child in post-World War II Poland, Alicia Mannix began painting and drawing as soon she could hold a crayon. A Jewish child in a small Polish town, she would often sneak into the town`s magnificent Gothic church and spend hours gazing at the colorful stained glass windows, paintings and sculptures when no one was around. In then anti-Semitic Poland, being spotted in a church would create an controversy among Alicia`s friends and neighbors. Some would grin with a sense of victory, commenting how she finally was coming to her senses by trying to become a Catholic. Others would curse and spit in her direction as though seeing a devil. Nevertheless, the works of provincial Medieval religious art were Alicia's first influence on her color palette - bright and bold.
Mannix came to America in 1969 at the age of 16 and she and her family settled in Baltimore. While studying art at University of Maryland, College Park, she impressed her teachers with the richness of her drawings and paintings and was encouraged to become a professional artist. After graduating from Maryland in 1975, she went on to study Liberal Arts at the Johns Hopkins University immersing herself in books and writing rather than paints and brushes.
Mannix returned to painting in 1998 with an almost non-stop exploration of dozens of styles and techniques. Viewers would often be confused, thinking that several artists were involved, only to find that it was Alicia pushing the envelope in all artistic directions. And this is when her self-coined style "Doodlism" was born. She would embark on a creative journey with every piece by letting her subconscious do all the work while trying to turn off the rational mind and allow the hands to follow this mysterious process which always began with mindless doodling. "While doodling, one forgets the pressure of producing something good," said Alicia. She claims that creativity is often squashed by trying too hard to come up with a product, rather than letting the process guide the results. Her doodles would often create unintended images which she would define and refine.
Mannix is writing a book on the subject, with the premise that anyone can be an artist by following this simple technique. A mother is three adult children, she currently lives and works in Ashland, Oregon.
People often ask me where my ideas come from. I tell them I have no idea what I'm going to when I start a painting.
I paint like a kid; I splash paint around and play with shapes until I find the destiny of the piece. Many intense emotions and thoughts race through my mind while a piece develops. Before long I have something impressive evolving, then I ruin it and I am very sad, and then a solution works its way into the piece and shows me something better. All of this happens in a span of only a few hours--a compression of an entire life's work (OR: --a compression of the creative process of life and death, or something along those lines...) It's an exhilarating process. I look at it from all angles, place it under different lights, pore and obsess over it. I ask myself, "How do I make this click?" and I become pensive. My head swells with images of all the possible additions I could make. When there's this "click" I let it go for a while, and after a few days, it looks different, like someone else worked on it while I was away.
After I've finished a painting, my reflections upon its results and a craving to start a new piece swirl simultaneously in my head. Everything I learned on the journey to the finished piece fertilizes the impetus of the next piece, and the adventure begins all over again. I develop relationships with each piece. I love each one in a different way--they are all happy to have been born, and they all have different personalities. Sometimes I'll hate a piece after loving it for weeks, so I'll change it. I rush home from whatever I am doing so I can stare at my newest creation. I spend hours just looking. I feel powerful, complete and happy in this process. I have an overwhelming desire to share my creations with the world. When people like my work, it fuels my momentum. There must be an interaction with the receiver for the process to complete itself. There is magic in this work.