Singer. Model. Medical assistant. There’s no end to what Brian Powell ’21 can accomplish as a health science major on the pre-physician assistant track who creates art in his spare time. To top it off, he also wrote a research paper on racial patient bias in healthcare.
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Alexander Romans ’21 only started painting last summer, but he’s already taking the art world by storm. Known as Harris-Lee Rose, he’s been featured in art exhibitions both locally and internationally, and he’s even posting videos of his late-night painting sessions.
Finding the right college was pretty straightforward for Alexander Romans ’21. “I grew up in the tri-state area and wanted to make sure that I stayed close to the city while in college,” he told us, and Pace was a natural fit. However, he was on quite a different path when he first started out, and it wasn’t until he completed a sixth-month internship in the real estate industry that he began to reassess his plans.
“I was full of confusion, unease, and slight frustration,” Romans told us. “I knew I didn’t want to work in the field because my heart simply wasn’t in it.” To release some of that frustration, he began painting—and his love (not to mention talent) for the medium took off. “I haven’t stopped ever since,” he said, having switched to a major in art with a focus in graphic design that very next semester.
Romans has built quite the name for himself online since. Under his artist name Harris-Lee Rose, he posts Instagram pictures and YouTube videos of his process, most of which occurs late at night. “I normally create around 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. If I’m having a very unique night, then I will continue on until sunrise the following morning,” he explained. He also plays music to keep him going, although “after an hour or so, the music tunes out and simply becomes background sounds.”
“I truly never thought I would be involved in the art world, let alone be an artist."
It’s no easy feat for anyone to launch a social media presence. Romans is as much an artist as he is a marketing and brand strategist, expertly incorporating his creative process and completed works into weekly vlogs. “I approach marketing myself as another artistic outlet,” he told us, “as well as a form of personal and public documentation of my artwork and process. I only act on what feels true and creative to me—nothing else.”
And the art world is taking notice. He’s participated in group art exhibitions both locally and internationally, including a recent solo exhibition right in his home state of New Jersey. With that experience under his belt, Romans is already looking toward the future. “I plan to start painting on clothing, illustrate [and] write a book, and continue to document and push toward getting deeper into the art world,” he said.
To date, his most memorable moment was seeing his work displayed in a public space alongside other artists. “I truly never thought I would be involved in the art world, let alone be an artist,” Romans told us. “It all seemed—and to a degree, still does—very surreal. It [...] seems to all be moving so fast.” We can’t say we’re surprised. He’s too talented not to be noticed and uplifted into the art industry!
With everything he’s accomplished so far, and so quickly, we had to ask: does he experience “art blocks” that slow or prevent his creative process? The answer: yes, but he has a clever way of dealing with them. “The only way I deal with ‘art blocks’ is by switching my medium, and it works every time for me. If I’m exhausted mentally of painting, I will draw—and vice versa.”
Romans is well on his way to taking the art world by storm, and we can’t wait to see where his next project will take him. Be sure to keep an eye on his social presence—this artist is going places.