top of page

APRIL 12-30

Lower East Side Paintings


Screen Shot 2024-04-06 at 10.24.19 PM.png


Alex Headlam, known artistically as Aleqth, embarked on his creative journey from a very young age, initially experimenting with play-doh to craft cars and other sculptures before transitioning to paper where he explored automotive and vampiric themes. His artistic development took a significant turn at 15, a period during which he began sharing his work online, marking a pivotal moment in his engagement with both art and its community. This era of digital exploration led to the conception of his brand name and style in 2020, a time when Headlam felt constrained creatively by his college environment. This period catalyzed the creation of his "Cope" moniker, stemming from a unique vision involving a sculpture that eventually resembled a logo. The ethos behind "Cope," according to Headlam, revolves around making the best out of any situation and seeing the world from a reinvigorated perspective, integrating community and combatting negativity as core principles​.


Aleqth's work gained notable recognition when Dean Baquet, the chief editor of The New York Times, purchased three of his drawings. This moment was a significant milestone for Headlam, affirming his position in the art world and encouraging a deeper commitment to his craft​.


Headlam is expanding his creative endeavors into the realms of film, writing, and directing, aiming to explore the constructs of reality through his artistic lens. He expresses a desire for limitless expression moving forward, signifying a shift towards a more immersive visual artistry, alongside continued contributions to music​.


In 2020, Aleqth also ventured into the NFT space, motivated by the success of peers in the digital art realm. With initial support, he began minting NFTs, incorporating themes central to his work, such as the notion of "Cope." His piece "Work in Progress" reflects a narrative of transformation and personal symbolism, emphasizing the importance of embracing life's journey and its inherent challenges​.


I started painting when I was in college. This was around 2017, I dabbled but didn’t take it too seriously. I was more into drawing. I’ve been drawing since I was 2 years old. 


I was taking painting courses, but was too preoccupied making music and working on my own projects. I never took painting seriously until I dropped out of college. COVID had hit, and they sent all the students home.


I had packed my stuff in my Audi A4 2006 and was headed to New York to be a full time artist. But, I couldn’t get there because my mother and girlfriend at the time were calling me simultaneously, telling me that it was a bad idea because the coronavirus was getting very serious, especially in New York. I couldn’t access the GPS on my phone, so I turned the car around and decided that I’d think things through at my girlfriend's apartment. Maybe I could let this virus thing smooth over. 


Days turned into weeks turned into a month. There was no sign of things slowing down. I had gotten sick, but was drawing and making music during that period inside. We were all inside.  I got by selling screen printed tee shirts and drawings on paper. People had money to spend. 


I guess one day I had gotten bored and decided that I wanted to give painting a real go. On my own. I went to Home Depot, and got a huge wooden plank, 4x4 feet. After getting the necessary supplies to paint on its surface, I started. It was a new experience, with signature elements of my drawings, and a lot of blue.


I would go on to sell that painting for $600, a year after it’s completion. I lived in Baltimore for a while, and this is where my love and connection to the practice of painting took to new heights. I had managed to sell enough  of those screen printed shirts from my brand cope. To put money down for an apartment. It was a room, and I had roommates, but I was finally on my own to do what I wanted. I painted everyday. 


I moved to Florida, from Baltimore, in March 2021. I created an entire body of work there that would end up being my book, cope. VOL 1. I painted and drew feverishly, and when I wasn’t I was either on the beach or eating sushi somewhere. The sales of the book, as well as a few sales of my minted artworks, afforded me the ability to visit New York. 


I would go very regularly, maybe once every 2 months. Moving around, meeting people, and getting to see what the art world had to offer.


I had decided that I would try once more to live in New York. 


Two years after I had self published my book, the individual pages were minted as a collection and sold out within minutes. I was thrilled, and that moment marked a significant change for me in my career. I was a real artist. A real artist that was going to move to New York and make it big. 


Easier said than done. I had arrived, starry eyed and ready to take the city by storm. I was on the move, going to openings every Thursday, and charming the gallerists every other day. For some reason, there was a bit of push back. I couldn’t figure it out. I had done the work, and had gained a significant following. I figured that it was that I hadn’t really shown them something that was “now”. 


So, every day after going out, I would return to my loft and get to painting immediately. I  was imbuing these paintings with the sensory overlays I had experienced while walking around the Lower East Side, the side of town which I’d frequent the most, as most of my friends hung around there and that’s where my favorite galleries were. 


Ads promoting psychic readings, couples fighting in the street, junkies screaming on the subway, wardrobe malfunctions; these were the things I would experience, often all at once, tuck it underneath my hat and bring it to my studio. 


I had fun painting these paintings. My process was evolving, and I had begun to incorporate A.I generated characters and symbols into the work. I felt like I was saying the things that everyone thought, but no one said. None of the galleries were showing anything like the work I was making. 


I asked some of my friends for critique, and explained what my intentions were with the work. “I want to really take over, and show just how deeply I feel, and how well I can paint.” Maybe I didn’t say that but I suppose that’s what it sounded like to them. 


They tore these works apart, and said that the New York gallerists look for everything wrong with a painting before they open their eyes to see what's working.


They said my paintings were too busy. Too graphic. Too this. Too that. 

I was crushed. I didn’t understand. I felt as though this was my best work. 

I put countless hours in, painted til I fell asleep with a paintbrush in my hand. 


For a time I even turned all the paintings backwards, because I was embarrassed and thought they weren’t good enough. These children that I was once so proud of and cared for, suddenly ruined. “These look like some lower east side paintings or something,” someone said to me when they visited my studio. They meant it in a caustic, tough love kind of way. At first it kind of stung. Because I knew he meant that he could smell the pee on the sidewalk and the half assed graffiti on the walls in my work. 


But, I kept working. Kept experimenting. Putting myself out there. Meeting the right people, meeting the wrong people. Learning. Unlearning.


And here we are. My first solo show. Lower East Side paintings. At long, lasts.

Thank you. 

Screen Shot 2024-04-12 at 11.01.23 AM.png
bottom of page