London illustrator and cartoonist Alex Jenkins creates disturbing artworks full of dark humour and grotesque scenes. “I try to avoid the pretence but wallow in humour while touching on the absurd and surreal,” he tells Creative Boom.
Did he always want to be an illustrator? “Not initially. I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I finished school, and I almost stumbled back into it as I felt out of options. Of course, looking back, I’m very pleased I ended up taking this route. Even when studying illustration, I couldn’t envisage how to make money from drawing. But getting advice from others in the industry gives a light along the foggy path, and things eventually start to make more sense.”
It’s that support from the industry that has inspired him to do the same for others. He urges anyone hoping to follow a similar path to get in touch and ask for advice.
How did his unique style develop? “Even looking back at my childhood drawings, you could see glimmers of the style already there. I think I’m quite scatty in nature and this reflects in my drawing. It’s not very good technically, but I can whip out stuff quite quickly.
“My influences come from lots of things. Comics and cartoons when growing up (2000 AD, Dark Horse Comics, DragonBall comics, lots of Nintendo 64 games) but also an influence from a more traditional art sense as well, for example, I can always remember a Di Chirico painting that stood out. Or artists like Goya and Dix.”
What is it about the grotesque and ugly that Alex likes so much? “I think it’s the child in me and it’s something I’m still drawn to. Now I think it’s important not to overkill the grotesque in my work though; it’s good to find a balance. Whereas before, I’d go all out, but it can lose its meaning.”
Discover more of his work at alexgamsujenkins.com.
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