This month’s One on One focuses on the growing, vibrant art scene in Birmingham. We paired Fine Art Services’s co-director, Alex Kunzman, with local artist Amy Pleasant to discuss artistic connections and how creative thinking is moving Birmingham forward.
While Kunzman originally pursued marketing, ultimately, he couldn’t ignore the call of the arts. When a position opened up at his mother Eileen Kunzman’s art consulting firm, Fine Art Services, he knew his love of working with the creative class would make it a prime opportunity.
FAS specializes in providing services for a number of events and exhibitions throughout the city. FAS has also built art collections for various clients including The Birmingham International Airport, The Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, and the Kirklin Clinic. The company’s largest and most visible events are the Magic City Art Connection contemporary art festival, Art Bash, and the Moss Rock Festival. Since its inception in 1984, the Magic City Art Connection festival has grown from 50 to 215 artists and now includes a children’s festival, live music, art installations, and Corks & Chefs, a food and wine tasting event.
Kunzman highly enjoys putting on the eco-creative Moss Rock Festival, which will take place Nov. 7–8 at the Preserve in Hoover. The festival looks at sustainability and smart living through a creative lens. “For me, it has been exciting to explore and spotlight innovators, artists, and creative thinkers who are designing our future,” he says. “Wherever I go, I am always taking in the arts of the area.”
Pleasant transforms daily activities into works of art through her unique artwork. The Birmingham painter is the cofounder of the curatorial initiative The Fuel and Lumber Company. She is represented by Jeff Bailey Gallery in New York and Whitespace Gallery in Atlanta.
Pleasant received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is known for her free associative paintings that explore repetitive activities of everyday life through narrative storyboards. Her images often reflect a specific gesture or tone that evokes a familiar feeling within the viewer.
She has held solo exhibitions across the world in places such as New York, Atlanta, and Sweden. Her work has been included in multiple museums of art, including the U.S. Embassy in Prague, Czech Republic. She has also been reviewed in various publications including Sculpture, The Brooklyn Rail, and Art in America.
Pleasant was the recipient of Magic City Art Connection’s Emerging Artist Award in 2003. The contemporary art festival hands out this honor annually to a talented Birmingham artist.