Illustrator Alec Doherty on constantly finding inspiration in his teenage years

9 October 2019


For September’s Nicer Tuesdays, London-based creative Alec Doherty told us about the developments in his practice that have seen him recreating his own, and his friends’ childhood memories. “I found this common theme that’s running throughout all of my work that’s been really enlightening for me, and that’s my adolescence,” Alec said, showing a series of illustrations that he describes as having a sense of mischief, rebellion and naivety to them. He found his first break in illustration when a friend asked him to come up with designs for his company, Partizan, a Bermondsey-based micro-brewery.

Alec ventured into some 3D work at a moment when he found it difficult to “find consistency in the 2D space,” experimenting with light-hearted small wooden sculptures inspired by and named after people he met at a working men’s club where he used to go with his parents in his teenage years. “We’d go down, have a sneaky beer, and these are just fond memories I remember of the oldies getting down and having a bit of a boogie and a drink,” he jokes.

Weaving through a wide variety of projects involving wooden beer taps for Partizan, large-scale reliefs, mood rings, and other jewellery, he found eventually found confidence in sharing these personal project. “If I shared them, work would come out of that eventually. It was also cool because I didn’t have to wait for cool commissions to come around to change the direction of my work and that was hugely liberating for me,” Alec shared. “Am I a jeweller? Am I a sculptor? Am I an illustrator? Who knows! I just want to do different stuff, ‘cause I’m a teenager,” he continued.

Throughout his caricatures of friends raving, drinking, unrequited love, Alec exuded a youthful shine when recounting the memories that inspired these illustrations. “Maybe I’m destined to be this perpetual teenager, or maybe, by embracing all this and learning from it, I’ll learn to grow up and my work will grow from it too,” Alec concluded.

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