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My Favorite Things: Alexa Meade

23-year-old rising art star Alexa Meade has taken the technique of humble body-painting to a new plane with an innovative trompe l'oeil technique that fuses installation, acrylic painting, performance and
photography. Most recently, the Washington D.C.-based talent made a splash at London's Saatchi Gallery with an installation featuring a live model and limited edition prints. The artist shares her favorite things with The Fine Art of Family.

Item I own that gets better with age: My mother got a free T-shirt at a work conference she went to when she was pregnant with me. All of the writing is faded except for the year of the conference: 1986. I've literally been wearing this shirt my entire life.

Best vintage buy: I found the authentic Eames Lounge Chair, minus the ottoman, at a thrift store. The sticker said $40 but it was half-price furniture day so I got it for $20.

What I’m currently coveting: The ottoman to go with my Eames Lounge Chair!

My secret to looking timeless: Instead of mud baths, I take paint baths.

Best souvenir I’m glad I brought back home: I had an Italian boyfriend that I visited in Tuscany in Summer 2009. While there, he bought me roses. I thought I would have to be sneaky about smuggling fresh plants into the U.S., but Customs let me pass right through the checkpoint with the flowers in hand. I still keep the roses next to my bed.

Book I have read more than once: Everything by Albert Camus

Music that always takes me back: The Velvet Underground

Smell that makes me feel most nostalgic: Grapefruit. I pretty much OD’d on it as a kid and can’t eat it anymore. I still love the smell though.

Film that I can watch over and over again: Adaptation. I like to re-watch it at times of transition in my life.

Favorite bedtime story as a kid: Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar.

What’s in my purse:
I carry a graph paper Moleskine notebook with me wherever I go.

Favorite family recipe: My mom's homemade cranberry sauce made with orange marmalade.

Tastiest mom-and-pop shop that’s been feeding me for years: I’ve been going to the original Moby Dick’s House of Kabob for the past six years. They’ve recently opened up shop at several other locations around DC. I probably helped finance that with all the Moby’s Melts I’ve bought over the years.

Childhood sport I still love to play: I used to do gymnastics and diving as a kid. I can still work up the courage to throw some crazy flips off the highdive.

Best advice I’ve ever received: My friend Archit who fronts the band Sugar Red Drive would always say “When you don’t know what to be, just be.”

Fragrance that makes me nostalgic: When I studied in Copenhagen my roommate used to spray Fresh’s eau de parfum “Sugar Lemon” all over the apartment. I associate that scent with good times and Scandinavia.

I couldn’t live without: Carbs. I really like my bread.

Art I’d like to own: There's so much, I don't know where to start! Though I guess it'd have to be a Robert Irwin disc painting.

Photograph: Courtesy of Alexa Meade