Alexandra Cook is a London based illustrator who just started her own lifestyle brand called ALXNDRA. She is a Surface Textile graduate from London College of Fashion. The crossing of disciplines, to illustrate and working with textiles added extra dynamic to her signature style. Her work is cheerful, minimal and has a little wink. Her vision is that it is just as important how you feel, as how you look. That is why all of her work is organic and eco friendly produced. We wanted to know more about her work as an illustrator, so we sat down with her for a small interview.
Volt Café: Tell us how you started creating illustrative artwork?
Alexandra Cook: Well, drawing has always been my ‘thing’ as such; my Babushka (“grandmother” in Russian) influenced me as a child. Playtime would be her giving me a fresh piece of white paper and a crayon to draw with. Then in my teenage years I used drawing as a kind of escape, when socialising became a bit much. Then moving onto my foundation at CSM I started out with a clear mind of wanting to design and study fashion, yet as I moved onto my Surface Textiles course at LCF I realised that my ability within drawing really set me apart from everyone else, I had without even realising developed my own style subconsciously, and that style was never something that I could fully translate into my design work. So something that had always been constant came to the forefront.
VC: How would you describe your illustrative aesthetic?
AC: Very linear, minimal and pops of colour added which is a new addition for me with strong Japanese Anime influences, dainty yet unnatural. I have two ways of seeing – one can be pretty and almost childlike, the other darker, more sophisticated. Also an inherited nostalgia flows throughout my life and art.
VC: We really enjoy the light hearted humour you convey within your work, we love your ‘Monster Monday’s’ tell us more about that.
AC: If I finish it and it makes me laugh, it’s a good sign. The humour is something I feel makes my work more feminine, as I refer to a diverse range of inspirational references, mostly with darker undercurrents. As for ‘Monster Mondays’, a remix from the brilliant artist Gemma Correll’s ‘Monday Punday’, its great to have some sort of schedule within my life, and hopefully something for people to look forward to me posting every week.
VC: Who is getting your attention within the industry right now?
AC: Jon Klassen’s children’s books ‘This is great and so simple’. His style made me want to create children’s books, his use of texture and unique style is amazing. My favourite is ‘I Want My Hat Back’. Charles Huettner. Everything about Huettner’s style is something that one day I hope to achieve within my own work. Great fun use of colour, his animations are almost childlike building blocks yet a juxtaposition of darker themes abodes. Lucjan, a mysterious persona with a great style. I really admire an artist who can create work that seems unfinished yet is finished. His work is again dark.
VC: Where are your current projects heading and what’s next for you?
AC: Firstly planning on publishing my children’s book. I’ve also started on my brand. Only very small at the minute, with T-shirts and necklaces, the start of the collection is about a platform projecting my aesthetical style, I had been working strenuously on the book and I really needed something more mature. I really wanted the brand to be a design brand rather than a fashion brand. I’m planning on expansion really; this small collection is a test to see how the brand evolves, hopefully into maybe homeware and childrenswear.
Words by: Anna Bang
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