Hello Alex, thanks for letting me to feature you on my blog this week. So, what made you want to become an illustrator? Do you think you would still work in the arts field if you didn't pick illustrator as your career path?
I've always been interested in art and drawing, but it wasn't until I completed two university degrees that I chose to do some illustration on the side, which has now turned into an almost full time career. I may well have been working in property development if there were more jobs available in 2009!
Property development? That's really opposite of what you are doing right now and I hope you are enjoying this illustrator career path. I know you were originally from London, UK and now living in Tokyo. Is the illustration industry different in Tokyo than London?
The illustration community in London seems to be one of the strongest and most thriving, though I think things are growing and expanding in Tokyo too. There are lots of exhibitions and art events here, so there is plenty to do and see for creatives and illustrators, especially with Japan's strong heritage of manga and illustration.
I am always a fan of manga and I think this is something no other country can do better than Japan. Now let's get back to your works. How will you describe your illustration style? What is the specific element you have that sets you apart from other illustrators?
My style could be described as clean and simple, though occasionally detailed. As silly as it sounds, I'm hugely inspired by the zen philosophy in the way I design, which views the space around objects as important as the objects themselves. I suppose my attention and care to every detail, especially colour, is what sets it apart.
I have never heard of illustrators using the zen philosophy to backup their styles and I think this is very refreshing! Well, out of all the works you have done so far, which one is your favourite? Why is that?
I like to think my favourite is always the last piece I have created, because I'm always aiming to improve and hone my style, though my current favourite would be 'Kidney Island' because I'm happy with the balance between detail, simplicity and colour in that one.
My favourite work from you will always be the Snow Apes Portrait. I just find the apes to be very funny and I love the colour combination! So aside from your personal site, I know you also run two sites called Red Lemon Club and Ape On The Moon, can you give a brief description of each site?
Ape on the Moon seeks to support quality artists through sharing exemplary visual art as far and wide as possible. Red Lemon Club shares information for creative people who want to improve and continue to be motivated doing what they do.
Snow Apes Portrait
I hope my readers will book mark the above sites as I know both sites can benefit the illustrators if they want to survive in this industry. Last but not least, if you could create an advertising campaign for any company in the world, which one would you choose and what kind of concept would you have in mind?
Nice question. I'd choose to create artwork for one of the major environmental-related organisations such as National Geographic (a childhood favourite) with a concept centering around depicting an environmental or geographical marvel in my own style.
------------------------------------It's trivia questions time!
PC or Mac?
Car or Bike?
Pink or Gold?
Pancake or French Toast?
Sea or Mountain?
Mickey or Garfield?
London or Tokyo?
Orange Juice or Lemonade?
Red or Blue?
Dragon or Phoenix?
Thank you so much to Alex for answering my questions and I look forward to seeing more great illustrations from him in the future. All images are courtesy of Alex Mathers. You can visit his personal website to see more of his works.