Alexander Medel, an illustrator masterful with pleasing curving shapes, is a creative we’ve shouted about countless times on It’s Nice That. However, we haven’t had the opportunity to shout about him for quite some time as Alexander’s been on an illustration sabbatical of sorts, but now, thankfully, he’s back with a bunch of personal work to share.
“I have been through many changes in my life and that clearly affected my art to the point where I lost the enjoyment of illustrating,” he tells It’s Nice That. I was sitting at my desk in front of the screen and nothing came out of my head.” In a situation where most would start flailing with despair, Alexander took the approach of being “truly honest and asking myself if ‘I had something to tell’ and the answer was: NOTHING. That’s why I quit design and illustration for almost a year.”
Timeout, rather than creating work that didn’t feel natural or wasn’t to Alexander’s taste, appears to have been the best way for his work to evolve. “I came back very eager and enthusiastic, not just because I have to do it, but the feeling was reborn,” he explains. Taking a break has also changed the illustrator’s approach to working, “electing another chromatic set and also adding elements that are more figurative,” he says.
In terms of style, pieces by Alexander have always been a little puzzling, which is not an easy task to create. “It’s difficult for me as an illustrator to do the act of illustrating because I don’t like when a figure can be identified immediately,” he explains. “I like to play with the ambiguity of the shape, and I think there is a real challenge to do that.”
As a result, the illustrator’s new work develops the same tropes that made his old work sing but applies new techniques such as Risograph printing. His digital works continue to use a bright and bold colour palette, but have more of a narrative to their randomness, adopting comic strip formats, for instance.
Taking a break in our social climate which is fuelled by our online presence, and the constant need to be seen doing something is actually a very brave leap for Alexander to make. But the results were worth it, particularly as Alexander even hints at more work to follow that he can’t even share yet.
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