THE ART OF ALEX JENKINS

THE ART OF ALEX JENKINS
interview / liz rice mccray

Alex Jenkins is an illustrator/cartoonist based in southeast London. Jenkins works explore satirical and critical subject matter through a distinctive and vivid style. Jenkins’ personality in all ways evoke what his art is, character’s drawn from life experience and abstract story-lines based on his inner narrative. Jenkins’ distinctive palette of colors acts as a safety blanket of silliness and sweetness, which allows the viewer the comfort to take a deeper look at what is really going on in Alex Jenkins art. Thank you Alex, we really enjoyed interviewing you. Dear reader, make sure to check out the interview and enjoy his artwork (www.alexgamsujenkins.com.)

Hi Alex, when we last spoke you were in your old room at your mom’s house eating pizza, where are you at present time?
Hello! I’m still at my mum’s house. But this time I’m working from the kitchen table, it’s a bit more roomy down here and food is more accessible when I decide to procrastinate.

I ordered pizza last night with mushroom and red onions but ever since our last interview I have been thinking about tuna on pizza. Is that a British thing? Plus extra tuna…how much tuna is too much tuna? And is it tuna fish from a can? 
I would highly recommend it; the strength of the taste of tuna really compliments the bland mozzarella of a cheap pizza. I don’t know how fresh this tuna is but I do sometimes doubt its authenticity, and I do hope it’s from a can and not an air sealant bag.

So where is your mom’s house? Tell us about where you grew up, the worst and best features?
My mum’s house is in an area called Penge. It is as bland as it sounds. If you want fried chicken shops then you’re in luck as there is a selection of about five. I think if I went half way round the world for two decades though, I’d clutch Penge closely to my heart and miss it dearly.

What does your mom think about your art?
I think my mum sometimes worries if it’s a little violent. I remember when I was about nine she was called in by the teacher because my drawings were also of a violent nature. But I think it’s more of a boyish thing instead of me being crazy.

Your art has truly intriguing subject matter with underlying contradictions of humor silliness. Your work seems to have a lot of different levels. Will you elaborate on some of the subject matter in your illustrations and how humor creates the balance?
Thanks, I’m honored! I always find it quite difficult to articulate what it is I’m trying to say, especially written or verbally. So often it’s a matter of trial and error through illustration. It can probably come across quite naïve sometimes but the good thing with illustration is you can leave it to the viewer as opposed to being put on the spot trying to explain yourself.

Last interview we asked about inspirations, influences, childhood ambitions, highbrow and intelligent way of describing your art. Will you give us a lowbrow description of your art?
A bit grim but a bit silly too.

The facial expressions of your subjects are super funny, thought provoking, and sometimes a little disturbing but in a funny way; will you tell us a little bit about where you draw scenes from?
Adding the facial expressions has always been something that’s enjoyable during the process and after. The notion of “expression” has always been a staple part of cartooning and for me personally, you can really tell the story of the image just in the face. Even when the face is one that is very simple and just consists of a pair of eyes on a baldhead, you can say a lot about character and narrative through this.

Have any of your influences or inspirations changed over the last year? 
Hmmm… nothing that springs to mind. Usually when working I’ll have really mindless things in the background, like boxing interviews (of course you aren’t going to get much elaboration with that) but maybe these subliminally creep into my head in the form of mundanity!

What’s your day to day?
It seems to work backwards. I tend to wake in the afternoon then lounge around for a good few hours and try to remove the puffiness from my face, eat and eventually start working in the late evening. I don’t know why but I find drawing in the morning quite difficult, it makes me really sleepy again.

What kind of art do you like? 
I cant quite put my finger on the art I like. I suppose the themes are usually quite macabre but not too much where it’s over-egged. Maybe images that have a good sense of humor too.

What makes you most uncomfortable?
Group speaking, that’s always nerve-racking.

 Is there an element of self-portraiture in your work?
Most definitely to a degree, I think I draw things that usually have a mundane task, more then likely it’s something I have done throughout the day.

Will you tell us a bit about your creative process? And what mediums do you mainly work with?
I usually work with a felt tip to sketch the idea, then with an accurate pencil to map out the drawing on good paper, go over in black ink and then scan in and color digitally.

If you were not an artist, what do you think you would be?
Oooh… that’s a tough one. I was one of those kids who had literally no idea when I was younger to any inclination of what I wanted to do when older. I do enjoy doing manual work when not drawing; it’s a nice contrast to being hunched at a desk or table all day long.

Very last question, any last words for our readers, shout-outs, declaration of love or hate?
Just a big thanks for a second interview, I’m very honored! And a big shout-out to all the readers of this interview. I hope this interview will change your outlook on life from this day forward.

Thank you, Alex. We enjoyed interviewing you.