Alexis Snell is a printmaker working in linocuts whose work features strange, dark, angular characters that look as if they’ve just emerged from a fairytale.
“I like things that are a bit dark and strange and I'm always drawn to a good story. A flea market, a late night drunken conversation, an old advert or a matchbox might get me thinking about a new idea.
I love working in lino. I once heard someone say there is no room for hesitation or apology in lino cutting and I think that the fact you have to be brave and just go for it appeals to me.”
Originally from Otley, near Leeds, Alexis studied at Leeds College of Art then went on the University of Cardiff to study fine art printmaking. Her shift to illustration came after a move to London and recognising how much she enjoyed working to a brief.
The “puzzle” aspect of illustration continuously intrigues her; the idea of working directly with someone else, discovering their feedback and throwing the odd curve ball in to try and create something new, interesting, but always on-brief.
“Fitting typography around your illustrations and getting ideas rejected makes me think harder. There’s always the inevitable and terrible waiting for feedback which is always a bit nerve wracking. In my personal work the waiting is usually replaced with me not looking at the drawings for a few days so I can see the design with fresh eyes.
Inspiration and where you find it is always a bit of a mystery. Lyrics of songs, wandering about car boot sales, getting sucked into films, a visit to an odd town….for me the best ideas come when my head is switching off from work.”
Charlotte and Alexis originally worked together on the logo design for The Monkey Puzzle Tree; Charlotte was so impressed by Alexis’ work they began to work on a number of surface patterns together.
“I really liked the fact that Charlotte was working with such a wide range of designers, with such differing work, to produce some genuinely interesting fabrics and wall coverings. She gave me free reign to do whatever I liked, but was there for feedback as it was a new experience for me.”
The first outcome of Alexis and Charlotte’s collaboration is the dark, jewel-coloured “How the Leopard got his Spots”, a densely-packed pattern of growling jungle cats and emerald green plants. Alexis’ work often features fierce creatures like dogs and devils leaping through highly decorative environments, so exploring this motif seemed like a natural path.