Good ideas, especially the technical ones, aren’t always easy to explain with words and that is where Alex Walker comes in. With his precision illustration and the sensibility of a graphic designer, his all-things-considered approach means that this Nottingham Trent graduate is well placed to both display and portray information.
Queue wonderfully considered spreads that borrow textures from printmaking, vectors from old-school video games and the diagrammatic nous of an auto manual. But information design is not his sole visual currency; aside from demystifying flight or a fuel cell, Alex lends his keen eye and talent for communication to narrative book covers and nonsense posters about rubber bands.
“I tend to create my illustrations using simple geometric shapes as building blocks, I like the restriction this sets and forces you to think about how you can represent something in an economical or abstract way.
“When I’m drawing or at my laptop, I mostly eat toast-based meals, this is something I’m still working on.”
Why or who or what made you go to art school?
For as long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed drawing and making things. Fortunately for me my parents were never obsessed with academic achievement and were really encouraging in whatever I wanted to pursue. Both my older brothers and I seemed to have the luxury of basing our studies around our hobbies; they did degrees in outdoor education, I went to art school.
What’s the best mistake you made when you were studying?
Choosing a graphic design degree rather than illustration seemed a bit of a mistake at the beginning. Looking back now though I’m confident it was a good decision, I’ve learn’t loads about communication and the importance of great ideas. The varied technical skills it’s given me have been invaluable too, as I enjoy using typography and layout within my work as well as illustration.
If you could show your work to one person, who would you choose and what would you show them?
Whoever invented rubber bands. I’d show him/her my poster of daft rubber band uses. I’d be interested to see the reaction I got… could go either way I think.
Can you give us one prediction about your work for the next year?
I hope I will be getting some interesting and varied work sent my way. To create work for magazines I’ve always enjoyed reading would be a dream come true, titles like Wired, Eureka (The Times science supplement) and Monocle. On the other hand, it would be great to be doing something completely different and unexpected. This is all very idealistic and possibly quite naive though! Whatever pays the bills would probably be a more realistic answer.
What’s the best thing you saw in the last three years?
I can’t remember the best thing, theres loads! Last week I visited the Natural History Museum and that was great. An interesting fact I learnt about guillemot eggs whilst there: They’re conical shaped so if they get knocked they roll around in a tight circle, therefore less likely to fall off the narrow cliffside ledges they inhabit. I thought that was quite clever.
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