Alec Doherty, London based illustrator and artist has been drawing facial expressions for years. Alec walked us through his influences, methodologies and how his art became jewellery.
You work seamlessly across a variety of creative skills including wood cut-outs, murals, jewellery, canvas and digital prints – how easy is it to switch between these, and also maintain your trademark aesthetic?
Cheers mate, that’s really kind of you to say, in all honesty I’m never consciously trying to maintain a particular aesthetic – in my head I’m always thinking about making something new, but thinking about it, maybe all of our aesthetics are like idiolects. They’re both cultivated through our unique experiences and interactions, and in that sense if you’re being true to yourself, whether you’re reading Shakespeare out loud or giving someone directions, your delivery will be recognisably and uniquely you, so in my case a dyslexic Northerner.
“…me making it and them remixing it…”
Jewellery stands out as an particularly interesting form of art, can you take us through the methodology of turning an idea into gold?
I heard this great tale about the origins of gold on Earth, they say most of it was formed in the hearts of dying stars and rocketed across the galaxy by supernova explosions, crashing down to earth from outer space. How fantastic is that? I am fascinated by space so I love the idea of holding something from deep out there in the great unknown. Gold has this whole mythology associated to it, because of that it can be an intimidating material, but I’ve found it an amazing substance to work with. The process is very satisfying, I start by carving pieces in wax, building a mould from that and then it’s cast and finished by my guys in Hatton Gardens. Every material is different the most important thing for me is to allow it to do its own thing.
On the same note, how important for you is it to keep changing up ways to express your creativity instead of limiting yourself to one artistic medium?
Right now it feels important, but I don’t put a time limit on any way of working, maybe I’ll land on a material or methodology and remain with it if it feels right. I’m just really going with the flow 🙂
Out of all of the various pieces that you’ve worked on, could you tell us which you are you most proud of and why?
I dunno about proud, but I would say I get a kick out of it, right now I’m getting a kick out of the jewellery, I love seeing people wearing it. To be a bit romantic, to me it feels like an artistic collaboration, me making it and them remixing it, that I love and it gives me a great sense of satisfaction.
Your work often contains a variety of faces and expressions – are these reflected by your moods and feelings at the time of creation?
Yeah lots of faces and people, another fascination of mine. I’d definitely say the faces and expressions are a reflection of how I’m feeling or what’s on my mind at the time of creation, sometimes that might be reflective and sometime prophetic. Getting your feelings onto paper is therapeutic and using expressions is very direct way to do so, I like that about it.
Who would you cite as your main artistic influences throughout your life that have helped shaped your ways of working?
Difficult to choose people, there is so many. I’m the youngest of a big family (7 kids). All my older brothers and sisters are creative, so they’ve been a massive influence on me, a childhood of being prodded, thumped and cajoled into liking the right things has shaped my likes and dislikes and made me into the person I am today, so I’d credit them with being the biggest artistic influences on me.
How have you found the last year in terms of your working from home / studio, and the routine you’re now in?
It’s had its ups and downs. I’ve loved some of the quiet time with no fomo. I’ve enjoyed some of the good habits I’ve taken to out of boredom; yoga, cooking and reading. I’ve been lucky enough to work on some great projects and I feel like I’ve made some progress with my own personal work. The studio has been a saving grace. But I miss people so much, I’m so desperate for hugs and dancing and conversations round the dinner table.
What path can you see yourself taking in the future, staying in London or moving elsewhere to another cultural hotspot?
No big plans right now but I’d love to spend sometime someplace else for a while, this situation has made that even more exciting as an option. Where that might be I don’t know, I still love this city and I hope we can have a summer in it soon.
“…they say most of it was formed in the hearts of dying stars…”
Are there any London based artists out there who’s work is really inspiring you at the moment?
So many brilliant artists, I’m obsessed with Berny Ferr (Bernardo Ferreira) the make-up artist at the moment.
As part of our ‘Creative Atlas Conundrums’ – what creative tool would you bring if you were stuck a desert island for a year?
Obvious but without doubt – a pencil.