Growing up in Paris, illustrator Alexander Luu would obsessively copy artwork from mangas such as Dragon Ball and Akira, comics like Spider-Man and Uncle Scrooge, and work by painters like Pablo Picasso (his childhood drawings) and Georges de la Tour. Captivated by the finer elements, he says: “I think what I liked was the amount of detail that could be seen in their art. It fascinated me.”
This intricate level of artistry has carried through to Alexandre’s own practice as an illustrator. Periodically ceasing drawing throughout adolescence, he eventually decided to pursue it full-time after graduating from Ecole nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, where he studied illustration, screen printing and engraving for five years.
Discovering new artistic influences during this time, such as David Hockney’s paintings and photographs (especially his works from the 60s and early 70s), Caspar David Friedrich’s Rûckenfiguren (figure seen from behind) motif, and cartoonists like Chris Ware because, he says: “I am becoming more and more interested in narration and how I can integrate this into my work.”
These days, his portfolio is bursting with delicate, detailed drawings of people and landscapes – some of which are based on borrowed imagery from Tinder photographs for a project titled My Summer on Tinder.“Since I only started properly drawing again two years ago, I still consider myself in the research phase,” he explains.
Experimenting with different techniques and styles, Alexandre tells It’s Nice That that he likes to compete with himself: “During my studies for example, I drew mostly in black and white and in very large formats, but now I’m working in colour and on a very small scale.” Using self-motivation in order to branch out, his initial foray into animation also began as a test. “I challenged myself to try animation, and I got very good feedback, so I kept doing it.”
Evidently, animation is one test that he definitely passed. Applying the same attention to detail as he does to his static work, his moving images are beautifully made. Full of character and wonderfully simple, his subjects dance, fight and smooch their way through each silky smooth frame. Whether it’s Snoop Dogg having a jig with his gin and juice or Shaquille O’Neal blowing you a kiss, Alexandre’s animations are perfect examples of less is more.
About the Author
Daniel joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in February 2019 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. He graduated from Kingston University with a degree in Journalism in 2015. He is also co-founder and editor of SWIM, an annual art and photography publication.