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Alex Jenkins' comical illustrations make you think out of the world, not just box

Illustrative Chronicles: Alex Jenkins is a London-based comic and illustrator who specialises in dark humour and gory themes, producing unsettling artwork.

by Rahul KumarPublished on : Aug 02, 2022

Alex Jenkins is a digital illustration artist and cartoonist based in South London, United Kingdom. Jenkins graduated from Camberwell College of Arts in London, England in 2015 where he pursued his bachelor's degree in illustration. The London based illustrator describes his work as exploring satirical and critical subject matter through a distinctive and vivid style. He attempts to avoid pretension while wallowing in comedy and touching on the absurd and surreal.

Camp-fire, digital illustration| STIRworld
Camp-fire, digital illustration Image: Courtesy of Alex Jenkins

1. Would you consider your work as "illustrations" or "art"? Is there a difference according to you?

I think the two words cross over and there is no clear definition or determining it as one. My take has been that illustration is trying to communicate an idea a bit more clearly whilst fine art can be more subjective in its meaning. So, if I am correct on that, I would say my work branches out into both worlds.

Cig-head, digital illustration| STIRworld
Cig-head, digital illustration Image: Courtesy of Alex Jenkins

2. What is at the core of your expression? How do you aspire for your work to be experienced and interpreted?

I like to make work that I enjoy and work that keeps me inspired or motivated. So, when I put my work out there, I hope to find those who can relate to it or who can enjoy it. But in terms of interpretation, that is entirely up to whoever views it. If there are mixed interpretations then I have succeeded in a way that the work is more layered.

Artist in studio | STIRworld
Alex Jenkins in studio Image: Courtesy of Alex Jenkins

3. Please tell us about your creative journey – how has your style evolved over the years? What/who are your biggest influences?

Yes, I think my work has evolved. When I started it was pretty grotesque and had a certain shock factor to it. But I like to think that I have moved on from that now. Of course, technically I am sure I have improved also and I think it is very important to keep taking on new challenges. Whether that is in subject material, thematically and technically. Influence wise there is so much to choose from. My Mount Rushmore of biggest influences would probably be artists like Goya, Robert Crumb, Phillip Guston, Dali, Di Chirico, Otto Dix, George Grosz and many more.

Willie AlexJenkins, Digital Illustration | STIRworld
Willie, digital Illustration Image: Courtesy of Alex Jenkins

4. A body of work you created that you are particularly proud of? Please share details of how you conceived of it.

There isn't any specific bit of work that I am particularly proud of. But I am proud in how I turned things around in terms of career. I did not know what to do with my life when in my early twenties, but I feel I have come a long way since then, in terms of career and then the development of this.

Portrait of the artist | STIRworld
Artist Alex Jenkins Image: Courtesy of Alex Jenkins

5. An upcoming project that excites you… or an unrealised project that is close to you?

I am really excited in branching out to animation. It is a whole new field and source of inspiration. There is so much to learn with it, which is pretty daunting, but also exciting. One day I would like to have an animated series or a full-length feature film!

Hole in wall, digital illustration | STIRworld
Hole in wall, digital illustration Image: Courtesy of Alex Jenkins

Click here to read more about Illustrative Chronicles, a collection of STIR articles that examine illustration as a discipline for narrating stories of the contemporary urban.

(Research Support by Vatsala Sethi, Asst. Editorial Coordinator (Arts))

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