Since we last spoke to illustrator Alex Gamsu Jenkins two years ago, his work has ramped up a gear. Yes, the Camberwell grad still renders satire in grainy newsprint-like scenes. And Lordy, his work is still pretty gory. But the scale of his pieces has expanded to create more involved, more surreal narratives where the gag isn’t always obvious at first sight. You feel compelled to give his gruesome scenes a second take.
“I tend to enjoy the outcome of personal work the most,” Alex tells It’s Nice That. “This is probably common for most people but it’s always nice being able to develop an idea from scratch and seeing it followed through. There is always a bit of unpredictability to the outcome and it becomes interesting seeing the reaction it gets.”
Alongside his personal work, which features Friends being used as a torture device and gym goers being sucked into a treadmill (a legitimate fear IMO), Alex has scored some sweet commissions since 2016. He’s created illustrations for BBC Three, The New York Times, Juxtapoz, NME and Vice, worked for Adult Swim (a “bit of a personal goal”) and has even designed a custom design for Van Europe, featuring the bloodshot eyes of peeping tom peering through the undergrowth.
“I hope in terms of theme and content my work’s come on a bit and doesn’t focus so much on solely being grotesque,” says Alex. “It’s nice to try to leave a narrative for the viewer to figure out.”