Alexis Fraser is no ordinary artist. She paints by daubing on some lipstick, puckering up and kissing the canvas.
Her artistic journey into this unusual art form began in 2012 when she created a "kiss print" portrait of the legendary American actress Marilyn Monroe.
Better known as Lipstick Lex, the Florida-based American artist accepted the challenge from a customer to produce an emblematic image of the iconic star using a unconventional medium.
"I went though a lot of pictures of Marilyn Monroe and noticed she was always blowing kisses," said Fraser who was into pointillism, or dotted art, at the time. "So I thought to myself: 'What if I did pointillism but with kiss prints? I wonder if that would work.'"
The effort was a success and led to Fraser launching her namesake art brand, Lipstick Lex, five years ago. Since then, Lipstick Lex has gone from strength to strength, with Fraser recently teaming up with Isehan Cosmetics of Japan to deliver a mural in March.
An art devotee who studied fine arts and art education, Fraser dreamed of being an artist ever since she was a child.
She has learned how to build her business, and shaking hands and dishing out business cards to potential customers are now all part of a day's work. It's a struggle at times but her passion and the support of her family keep her going.
"You just have to play the game and people will find you," said Fraser, who is currently hosting an exhibition at Harbour City as part of an art/beauty promotion with the Tsim Sha Tsui mall.
Titled Sun-kissed Summer, the exhibition features 22 tropical-themed lipstick artworks including a three-meter-long Victoria Harbor Sunset mural composed of 10,000 kiss prints and lipstick from more than 20 brands.
It took her two weeks to finish the mural, which is her largest work to date.
Kissing a canvas several thousands of times can be tedious and her lips tend to get tender, so Fraser alternates between kisses and painting intricate details using lipstick and a paintbrush. "It's a laborious process but worth the effort to be original," she said.
Trial and error is very much part of the creative process when figuring out the types of prints she can get from various shades and brands of lipstick. It also depends on how hard she kisses the canvas. For instance, with one application of lipstick, Fraser can either get a single dark print or up to six prints with a faded effect.
Fraser has so far used more than 30 types of lipstick, from high-end to mid-range brands such as MAC and Urban Decay, but she prefers those with creamy, satin finishes as they don't dry too fast.
She uses a palette of hues - including yellow, turquoise, blue and black - as vivid colors are a hallmark of her style.
"I try to convey love, beauty, happiness and positivity as kiss prints are symbolic of all these things while vibrant colors help convey these messages as well."
It's not hard to see the link between kiss prints and love, according to Fraser, who once received a request from a woman for her to create a kiss print portrait of her late husband. "I guess it's all about how you feel when you look at my artwork."
Having exhibited in North America, Europe and Japan, Fraser will continue her endeavors to make Lipstick Lex well known in the world of art, while her new goal is promoting self-love among women.
To this end, fans can expect to see kiss-print portraits revolving around this message in the near future.
Sun-kissed Summer runs until July 22 at Harbour City and visitors can also try out different brands of lipstick at a "lipstick tasting bar."
Admission is free.