Alexis who lives in illustrations
Illustration artist Alexis Bukowski is one of those artists whose works will catch your attention by their tones, composition and technique. Influenced by his father, Alexis decided to dedicate his life for drawing. The collage mixed with the illustrations creates an intense message and the subtle and modern works show a deeper meaning which Alexis shared with us.
Who is Alexis Bukowski and how did he find his path in the world of drawing?
Well, there isn’t a big mystery behind. At high school my colleagues started to call me Bukowski because I always carried many Bukowski books with me. When I created Facebook I used this name and people started to believe this was my real name. It actually doesn’t have anything to do with my art works, neither with my identity. I would never compare myself with someone like Bukowski, I am light years away from him!
I am a suburbs guy. I grew up in Barcelona’s metropolitan area. The truth is that the path “naturally” found me, I guess. I have drawn since I could hold a pencil (it sounds as a cliché but it is true). Also, my father has a lot to do with it… His drawings and comics have always been present at home… At the end, I picked up that. I am not sure there would exist another path for me. I do not feel that same passion while doing other things as when I draw.
Most of your work contains the original sketches which are combined with collage technique. Can you describe the process of your work?
My working process is pretty simple, but sometimes it is a bit desperate. First of all, I analyze the order or the communication need requested. Afterwards, I do not have any ideas for a while… Then the inspiration comes and everything flows by itself. I guess that unconsciously I think about the technique or resources I will use, but in the practice everything seems to come automatically, and it always works. The collage is a resource I use a lot because on the one hand it facilitates the tasks, but on the other offers a communication level I couldn’t reach. When I unify collage with my illustrations, they create a message much intense and completed (or that is what I think).
In some of the illustrations we can we can observe some female figures, a slight naïve and calm look. What are the themes that you prefer to use in your works?
Well, female figures were present at the very beginning. It was what best fitted with my communication needs and what I wanted to say. Little by little, they disappeared or started being present as a secondary figure, as I started to use other topics to drive the concepts I wanted to express.
At this moment, for example, Andalusian families that migrated to Catalonia at 50s and 60s (and their particular aesthetics) are my new base topic, as a part of who I am, because at greater or lesser extent, I came from one of them.
The illustration which is called “SOFAR SOUNDS” was done for a concert. What was the concept of the project?
Sofar Sounds are clandestine concert series organized in particular houses. For that illustration, I wanted to show the moment after the gig. That is why I used a girl figure smoking at the window, also joking with the double sense of “the cigarette after sex”. Live music, for me, is almost comparable to sex.
One of the works touches quite a discussable theme these days about the social media and how we see others in it. The work is called “SALON MAGAZINE”, and catches the attention on how the anonymity of cyberspace allows men to express their “feminine” side, which they might otherwise hide. How did you decide to express this matter in a visual form? What was the main message that you intended to send to the viewers?
I wanted to show that a double vision exists about this issue. On the one hand, it seems that users want to hide their “real” identity thanks to the digital platforms. But they are truly showing themselves in openly their real “I”. That is why I use digital elements (Instagram photo style with woman’s face) although it is also present as an evidence male sexuality with a big flower at the character’s genitals. That part of the character is outside the digital context (the Instagram photo).The message that the illustration gives complements the article and offers, subtly, my vision about this fact.
In some projects you show the characters in a satirical way. One of them is the editorial project called “LA FAMILIA”.
It is not exactly a satire what I want to stand out with this series. “La Familia” aims to tell, precisely, those Andalusian families who migrated to Catalonia to get by. It moves through a dreamlike language, because, as I do think, for those people who came to Catalonia (in many cases they never had left their town before), that must be as a dream, not in the good sense of the word but those dreams where you are not able to run, even though you want, where everything has a weird sense, or absolutely doesn’t have it. Where reality and imaginary mix to create a brand new scenario.
How you decide that making illustrations and drawings is your key to the future?
As I said before, I didn’t decide this all over. Let’s be honest, I am not useful for many more things, this is what I better know how to do. Then, I discovered that illustration is a profession as any other, that there are people working on it and live from it.
In these days it is really challenging to stay in the art industry and you have to stand out for your works. Do you think that you have developed a look that the viewers could notice?
I believe that it is important to have certain aesthetic style (and I am saying this from my Art Director profile), as clients can have an approximate idea of what will be the result after a collaboration together. This helps to get more projects. But the truth is that I try not to be trapped on a conceptual or thematic level, as it is easy to fall into monotony, be predictable and, at the end, boring.