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How painter Alexa Meade transformed Tom Kitt, Amber Gray, Derek Klena and more into living art

Each Broadway artist describes their experience as a human canvas — exclusively for Broadway News.

Artist Alexa Meade paints Tony Award winner Tom Kitt as part of her exhibition “Wonderland Dreams” (Credit: Mike Monaghan)

Walking off the New York City street across the threshold of 529 Fifth Avenue is like waltzing into a dreamscape. Every inch of the two-story space on the corner of 44th Street is painted in swirls of color and dashes of luminescence. Visitors might feel like the Banks children jumping inside the “Mary Poppins’” chalk drawing. The space looks like a 2D watercolor, but reach out and touch and it’s 3D. The visual trick splayed across 26,000 square feet in the immersive exhibition “Wonderland Dreams” is the brainchild of artist Alexa Meade.

Born and raised in Maryland, Meade did not dream of becoming a painter. She painted “as a kid at summer camp” but didn’t enjoy it. “I’d get too perfectionistic and in my head,” Meade confided. She avoided it and never took a formal painting class.

It wasn’t until the age of 22 that she “came up with this idea for painting on people and I taught myself how to paint,” Meade said. “One of the things I like about painting on people is that you have to go fast and you can’t go back and correct mistakes. It just has to exist as it is. It’s the perfect medium for me to be able to keep it moving along.”

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