Interview with Illustrator Alexandra Barnes

Interview with Illustrator Alexandra Barnes

In this blog we are interviewing Alexandra Barnes, full time spectacle wearer and illustrator from the West Country. Many of Alexandras works feature spectacles, the above image is a collage of some of her most recent illustrations. 

When did you develop your passion for illustration?
I've always been passionate about drawing and creativity. According to my Mother, I first started drawing when I was two years old. I was given a Parker pen refill and I started to scribble away. I would draw peculiarly dressed creatures, mainly elephants wearing dresses and accessories. I loved Babar the Elephant at the time, so I'd presume that was my influence as an infant/toddler.

Where is the most exciting place/feature/article one of your illustrations has featured?
Creativity and art is a powerful communicative tool. I've had migraines in the past and other family members have experienced at times debilitating migraines. I created some images that could represent show how migraines make people feel. I contacted a group a foundation called Migraine Action. They published several of my images and I wrote some articles for them. This was rewarding to use my art to reach out people, to support others going it. 

Which artists do you admire?
My interests are varied and I do admire all types of art. From a young age I had always adored detailed and delicate illustration. Beatrix Potter the original illustrations and Flower faeries.
Fashion illustration became a huge part of my passion and life with a family background in fashion design and I've always liked surrealist art. Elsa Schiapparelli, was an innovative couturiere and worked closely with surrealist artist Salvador Dali. Together they created the  Lobster dress, which isn't illustration but it's still fascinating and fun. 

How has your style evolved over the past few years?
My art has changed but I've always kept retained my style. I love bold lines and intricate details, and texture. I love scribbly lines and distressed looking edges.
I've always enjoyed drawing faces and eyes, so glasses definitely play a big part in my drawings.

In quite a few of your illustrations featured on Instagram spectacles are present. In terms of the spectacles featured in your illustration, where do you get your inspiration from?
I've always worn glasses. Spectacles are part of me, they are my eyes, they give me the ability to create and to live life as I should so without really considering it, I draw glasses often. I do also like the cyclical motion when drawing circles and oval shapes, swirls and curls. Quite a soothing feeling with a pen.

Being a spectacle wearer, what would be your dream pair of spectacles?
Intriguing question. In bitingly cold winter months I love warm and cosy shades. Rust brown, amber, mulberry and plum are beautiful for frames. In summer I love vibrant but pastel shades like mint green and lilac. Maybe I'll invest in some sunglasses with a frame like that for glorious and much anticipated trips to the beach.

What things can't you live without?
With the climate being far from desirable, I'm all about being cosy and snuggled up in a cocoon. Bubble baths and candles flickering. hypnotic, soothing and warming scents like patchouli, oud and cinnamon. Aaah. 

What are goals and plan for 2019?
Positivity and optimism is my mindset. I want to keep being creative and to have trips to places with rugged wildlife to inspire me. I want to catch up with people I've not seen in a long time and make fun new connections.