Are you interested in satire and enjoy artworks that ridicule certain things in our society? Are you also a fan of comics? Well, we have something special for you then! After our post featuring Alex Gamsu Jenkins' comics got a lot of your attention, we decided to share more of his artworks with you!
Alex is a London-based illustrator and cartoonist that has been drawing since his childhood. His works have been featured in popular outlets such as New York Times, BBC, Vice and others, so you're in for a treat!
These illustrations are hard to explain, but the artist would describe them as "exploring satirical and critical subject matter through a distinctive and vivid style." Through the prism of absurdity and humor, he touches on serious topics that won't leave one indifferent. Are you ready for a dose of surrealism?
Alex Jenkins grew up in South London and is currently based there. He’s been creating comics and illustrations for the past 6 years since graduating in 2015. Alex works freelance but for animation, he is under the Greenhouse banner who are part of Strange Beast/Passion, an animation studio in London.
Bored Panda managed to get in touch with the artist and learn more about his creative work. Keep on scrolling to find out more!
The artist drew comics, lots of doodles and sketches as a kid. If you checked his school planner you would find a lot of little violent images and characters and just a little academic content. "I was a daydreamer and not the most studious, although looking back I would approach my studies with more commitment if I could do it all again." Alex admitted that he didn’t draw for a long time whilst going into his teens: "I messed around with friends and didn’t turn up to school. It wasn’t until it got to a point in my early twenties where I felt pressure to choose a career path and I had no idea what to do."
Alex revealed that he worked in a lot of jobs (supermarket, gardening, call center) but none of these really grabbed him. After some time, the artist was encouraged to give art a go. "I knew that I had a bit of talent when drawing. But things developed and a career path became much clearer when I first did an evening cartooning course, then an art foundation and then a BA in illustration."
Most of Alex's early influences come from his childhood. He mentioned that he really liked cartoons like Dragon Ball, Ren and Stimpy, Popeye, Watership Down and Farthing Wood. Also, lots of action films and Nintendo 64 games like Golden Eye, The Terminator, The Shining, Jaws, and more that he probably shouldn’t have watched at that age, he added.
"I think these influences really helped shape what I enjoyed to create down the line. I was also lucky to have parents and grandparents who would take me and my sister/cousins to lots of art galleries when we were very young and I think this exposure definitely helped develop a style much later on."
Other artists that have influenced Alex are a continuous list for him, as he discovers more as he goes, but to name a few would be Goya, Otto Dix, Francis Bacon, Robert Crumb, Philip Guston, Bosch, Edvard Munch, Fuseli, Keith Haring, Fleischer, Kuniyoshi and many many more.
We asked the artist why he chose a grotesque approach for his illustrations. He explained that this kind of style comes naturally to him. Alex feels that it sends a stronger message. "Also, I like dark humor so a grotesque element in my work lends itself perfectly to it," the artist added. The influences we mentioned before also have a few grotesque elements in their artwork, and it's something that Alex enjoys.
Coming up with ideas is usually a pretty spontaneous process for the artist. "I’m not so good with planning ahead. It is usually a case of sitting down, sketching and hoping that an idea will pop up that's worth finishing. I’m way more visual, so the sketching part is really important for the generation of ideas. But I find that it's important to keep finding external sources of influence, these things can even be very mundane and boring because I’ll need more information to hopefully inspire an idea."
The most favorite part of the creative process for Alex is finishing something and feeling a sense of achievement. "I probably find the most difficult part of the process the thinking of the idea and then the onset feeling of frustration and that my creative well has dried up forever." The artist shared with us that recently, he has found that things can become stale in terms of the creative process when there is so much repetition involved, so now he is trying to source new influences and try different methods of working to hopefully brighten things up again.
Since Alex's comics have such a distinctive style, we got curious how other people react to his artworks. The artist revealed that the reactions are different. "I realize that my work/style is not for everyone. Some people may think it's too low-brow and some may think it's pretentious. I like seeing people's different interpretations of what it means or what it does for them. It's nice when my intended idea is guessed but also it's nice seeing the different explanations that are given."