Alex Jenkins’ comic illustrations make you think about the world, not just the box

Alex Jenkins is a digital illustration artist and cartoonist based in South London, UK. Jenkins graduated from Camberwell College of Arts in London, England in 2015, where he pursued his BA in Illustration. The London-based illustrator describes his work as exploring satirical and critical subject matter through a distinctive and lively style. He tries to avoid pretension while wallowing in comedy and touching on the absurd and the surreal.

Campfiredigital artwork Image: Courtesy of Alex Jenkins

1. Do you consider your work “illustration” or “art”? Is there a difference in your opinion?

I think the two words intersect and there is no clear definition or determination as one. My take is that illustration tries to communicate an idea a bit more clearly whereas fine art can be more subjective in its meaning. So if I’m right, I would say that my work branches out into both worlds.

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

2. What is at the heart of your expression? How do you want your work to be experienced and interpreted?

I enjoy doing work that I love and work that keeps me inspired or motivated. So when I publish my work, I hope to find those who can relate to it or who can appreciate it. But in terms of interpretation, it entirely depends on the viewer. If there are mixed interpretations, I managed to make the work more layered.

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

3. 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 first started it was quite grotesque and had a certain shock factor. But I like to think I’ve moved on now. Of course, technically I’m sure I’ve also improved and I think it’s very important to keep taking on new challenges. Whether in subject, thematically and technically. In terms of influence, there are so many choices. My Mount Rushmore of the 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 work that you have created and of which you are particularly proud? Please share the details of how you designed it.

There is no specific work that I am particularly proud of. But I’m proud of how I’ve changed things career-wise. I didn’t know what to do with my life in my early twenties, but I feel like I’ve come a long way since then, in terms of career and then development.

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

5. An upcoming project that you are passionate about… or an unrealized project that is close to your heart?

I’m really excited to get into animation. It’s a whole new area and a source of inspiration. There’s so much to learn with it, which is pretty daunting, but also exciting. I would like to have an animated series or a feature film one day!

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

Click here to learn more about Illustrated chroniclesa collection of STIR articles that examine illustration as a discipline for telling stories of the contemporary urban.

(Research support by Vatsala Sethi, Deputy Editorial Coordinator (Arts))

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