Whatever you think of Alexander James Wood’s excellent work, you’re unlikely to miss it. Working at a scale so enormous that I imagine it was a test of even Camberwell’s facilities – many of his screen prints are A1 and A0 size – the illustrator creates vibrant and richly textural images of domestic interiors and architectural touches, among other things. No detail goes unnoticed; from the label on a stray bottle of wine sitting on a side table, to the neighbours’ furniture which you can just about spot through the window of the apartment opposite. It’s no surprise we picked him out from over 900 applicants to be an It’s Nice That Graduate of 2015.
His passion for art came from his dad. “I remember going to see the Rothko retrospective at the Tate with him in 2009 and knowing for sure that I wanted to go to art college,” he says, and fortunately, his time at Camberwell made him glad he did. “I loved every minute of the foundation course at CCW. When I made the transition to BA Illustration it was a long time before I found my feet, socially and academically. I did though, eventually, and my final year has been very fulfilling as a result.”
Alexander is a case in point that as an artist your favourite work isn’t always your most successful. “I’ve had good reactions to my screenprints, and I really enjoy making them, but I think the project I got the most from was an external project arranged through Camberwell for The Guardian,” he says. “We worked with Sarah Habershon, one of their art directors, to create illustrations for a long-read article. The project wasn’t live but it was over within two weeks, and gave me a good flavour of what editorial work in the big leagues would be like after graduating.”
"There's always a creative solution to a project, but it's a shame when you don't find it in time and end up presenting something crap. Or worse, something you don't believe in."Alexander James Wood
With a hint of wisdom beyond his relative experience, he takes a similarly matter-of-fact view of the projects he has worked on that didn’t turn out so well. “There’s always a creative solution to a project, but it’s a shame when you don’t find it in time and end up presenting something crap. Or worse, something you don’t believe in,” he says. “It’s a horrible feeling. I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t happened to me a few times throughout my four years at Camberwell. That said, I think my worst project was an animation I did on Dr Samuel Johnson in first year. It had a jazzy soundtrack, and it completely missed the point.” David Lynch is more his bag, he explains. “He’s such a unique artist and filmmaker. A lot of his work, particularly his films and Twin Peaks have been influential on my own work this year.”
On the whole, Alexander believes his final year at university has been the most rewarding, due to both the work he was doing and the people he was working with. “I was making work I was happy with because I’d had the time and the freedom to find out exactly how to do it,” he says, “and I had the support of a lot of reliable creative minds to keep me going in the right direction. I think I’ve learned to appreciate not just how important a healthy creative environment is, but what that environment looks like to me.” If his dreams come true, in a year’s time he’ll be “on holiday from the job I don’t want to leave.”
We are very pleased that The It’s Nice That Graduates 2015 will once again be supported by Represent Recruitment. The graphic and digital design recruitment specialists have developed a peerless reputation working with designers of all levels and matching them up with the right positions in some of the top agencies around. Represent’s support has helped us grow the Graduate scheme over recent years and we are thrilled they have partnered with us again in 2015.