Alex Schaefer (born 1969) is an American artist, painter, activist, and educator. He is a notable figure in the Los Angeles contemporary art scene, and has received widespread coverage regarding his series of paintings depicting real-world branches of various banks on fire.
The artist has received attention for his series of oil paintings portraying various banks in the Los Angeles area on fire, done en plein air in front of the buildings themselves. Much of the work in the series focuses on branches of Chase Bank, though other banks such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo have been depicted as well. The subject matter, as well as his presence near the buildings that he paints, has resulted in Schaefer being questioned by law enforcement at several instances. He began the series in 2009, with the most publicized being painted in front of a Chase Bank in the Van Nuys neighborhood of Los Angeles in 2011.
In July 2012, Schaefer was arrested after creating chalk drawings on the sidewalk outside of a Chase Bank in Los Angeles. He spent twelve hours in jail on a misdemeanor vandalism charge.
Schaefer has previously sold paintings in his Banks on Fire series, with one painting fetching upwards of $25,000. The series has also attracted attention from those active in the cryptocurrency community, members of which Schaefer says are drawn to the imagery of traditional financial institutions on fire, and who have been the source of some of his sales of the series.