Illustrator Alexa Coe has developed a distinctive way of celebrating the female nude with her gorgeous minimalist drawings. She’s also created a special installation for London Fashion Week at the Hill & Friends South Molton Street store, so we thought it was the perfect time to ask her all about her art…
Where do you live in London and what do you like about the area?
I live in Shoreditch, just by Columbia Road, which makes it much more chilled than the bulk of Shoreditch. I love East London. It’s full of quirks, great places to eat and some of the best markets in London. The highlight is Sunday when the nearby street is full of flower salesmen and buskers adding colour to the street.[easy-image-collage id=102086]
Your focus is on the female nude but drawn in a very minimalist way, how did you develop into this style?
I have always loved drawing in its rawest form, it is such a therapeutic way to express creativity. In the same way in which abstract drawing pulls away from the over complexities of modern day life, I wanted to the same for female representation. The fluid lines are more about experience and freedom rather than overworking or perfecting, which is an important way to see a female body.
Who are the figures you draw based on or inspired by?
Images I have seen, shapes in nature, a photographer’s crop. I collate photographers’ images often. It’s a good way to begin to understand how perception of a subject can be changed by an angle of a lens, which is ironically how most of us begin to see ourselves and others these days. I am fascinated by social media so I love to collect photographs and use aspects of images I’ve seen and rework the forms I see in them, like a continual dialogue between creatives. Instagram is an amazing tool to research; you can begin to discover the world at your fingertips and make connections with people you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Yes, Instagram comes with its own set of problems, but as long as you can see it for what it is then it’s easier to see its benefits.[easy-image-collage id=102088]
You’re collaborating with Hill & Friends on an installation in their store for London Fashion Week. What can you tell us about the piece?
I wanted to fill the space and bring it to life. The women are larger than life and work around the space itself. Due to this I worked quite spontaneously, so I could work within and with the shapes of the shop itself. The final drawings were aiming to be as fun and playful as the brand itself.
Describe your perfect day in London.
Sundays in London are the best. I’d bike ride to my favourite brunch spot in Stoke Newington, Esters. I love going to the Tate Modern on Sundays. Even if it’s just going up to the members’ bar for one of the best views of the city. It’s a big enough space to get lost in for a good couple of hours. The permanent collection has an amazing selection. The Picturehouse Central is pretty special, it has a great little cafe and (another) amazing view of Piccadilly Circus. Get there a bit earlier and nab a squishy sofa at the back.