We speak to class illustrator Alex T Frazer about surf, big bands and putting yourself out there.
Alex’s unique style evokes visions of venerable dockyards, old-school signage, moody tattoos and generally that of a tradition which is fast slipping out of our grasp.
“Everything starts with a pencil for me,” Alex told us, “Then it moves onto an inking, and quite often it ends up on a screen print”. It is these traditional mediums and styles that have got Alex noticed from big players like the band Mogwai through to environmental campaigners Surfers against Sewage.
“The traditional works for me, I often use a minimal colour pallet so it really suits working with these long-established methods.”
Alex got to work with SAS purely by chance when entering an open-call illustration competition
Originally from Sheffield but now an ‘honorary Mancunian’ having lived there for most of his life, Alex explained how he got to work with not only SAS but also the Sunset Sons purely by chance when entering an open-call illustration competition.
“I put an artwork into ‘For the love of waves’ which was a charity sale organised by SAS, the project involved creating an illustration around that phrase. I was lucky enough to get selected and things grew from there.”
He has continued his relationship with SAS and now designs a full range which they sell in their shop. From there he was picked up by the Sunset Sons to initially work on a single poster, but once again his ability has driven this to expand into much more including the artwork of their latest EP.
“I think it is so important to put yourself forward for these things, if you aren’t working on a commission or doing some freelance then you should definitely have a stab at an open-call event. It is all about getting out what you put in and for me these events have led to so much more.”
This isn’t the first time Alex has pitted his skills in an open competition and come out trumps. Earlier this year he entered the Secret 7″ at Somerset house, an annual event that combines music and art for a good cause.
Seven tracks are taken from seven of the best-known musicians, creatives from around the world are asked to interpret artwork for these tracks in their own style. The records and their new sleeves are then sold for charity.
With all of this going on you would think Alex would have his hands pretty full, but not wanting to waste his time he has recently decided to embark on a tattoo apprenticeship, just for kicks (well not really).
“We are just learning the trade, theory and thinking at the moment and haven’t let us loose on any real canvas yet.” Alex explained.
“I hope in the future to be able to work both with illustration and tattooing. A lot of people I aspire to, enjoy and work with both art forms,”
Duke Riley is one such influence, a fine artist and tattooist from Boston, USA.
“His work is just so beautiful, everything he does from illustration to exhibitions is amazing. He is a big influence. Other people that inspire me include Evan B. Harris, Wes Lang and Drew Millward”
Alex has also just completed his first solo exhibition at the Richard Goodall gallery in Manchester and as far as his future goes? He has decided to buckle down into his tattoo apprenticeship and see where his talents will land him this time.