Congratulations to our March Member Spotlight, Jill Alexander!

Jill Alexander is an award-winning artist and educator. Earning her MFA from The School of Visual Arts in 2006, Jill
graduated with honors, and was the recipient of the Pete Hamill Award. Since that time, Jill has been honing her skill of portrait realism-painting while traveling and documenting various cultures including Egypt, Morocco and Cuba. With control and precision, she works closely from her photographs, using multiple images to create one work. These paintings ask the viewer to contemplate “Why travel anywhere if everything is the same?” They celebrate the places where, despite modernization, the vibrant simple life continues as it has for generations. Jill’s portraits employ vivid saturated colors, unusual compositions, and often, an added bird or two. It is no wonder that you will find one of our feathered friends in the works, as Jill’s late mother, Carol, held the nickname “Bird” for her strength, wisdom, and spirituality.

Jill teaches drawing and painting at her alma mater, Wall High School, in the city of Wall Township, NJ, where she lives with her husband, John, and Yorkshire Terrier, Macy. Jill has had many successes during her tenure at Wall. In 2019, Jill was honored by Congressman Chris Smith for her work as the most active art teacher in the Annual Fourth District Congressional Art Competition. The same year, Jill received an official proclamation from the mayor of Wall Township, Kevin Orender for her personal art achievements. In 2021, Jill was selected by the student body to be the first art teacher ever inducted into the Wall Chapter of the National Honor Society based on her representation of character, scholarship, leadership, and service. Also, she was named The Outstanding Educator in Visual Arts of 2021 by Monmouth Arts, the leading independent art advocacy organization in Monmouth County. Jill has been interested in children’s illustration for nearly 10 years now. In 2014 she collaborated with Christopher Award-Winning writer, Joseph Bottum, on a project that she created and illustrated titled Cabby May, which focuses on a crime-solving, cab-driving Yorkshire Terrier in New York City.  Cabby May was inspired by Jill’s Yorkie, Macy, who she always imagined having this adventurous hidden life from 9-5 that neither her nor husband ever knew about! This book was completed, but never published. Jill has hopes that someone someday will see its potential.

Lately, Jill has been back at the drawing board, spending her evenings after school illustrating. She recently completed the illustrations for two children’s books, both of which feature birds. The first, Little Owl in the Big City was published in November 2021 and has sold nearly 3,000 copies and the second, On Eagles’ Wings is projected for publication in August 2022. Since then, Jill has written two children’s books and continues to work on illustrations to complement the words of each. Most recently, Little Owl in the Big City has been optioned by a film production company. Jill is cautiously optimistic with hopes of seeing her illustrations translated into a holiday movie in the next two years