Alex Booker lives and works in London. He studied fine art printmaking and has a Masters in Fine Art Printmaking from University of The Arts London.
What inspires your work as an artist? That’s a huge question. I hate to sound like a cliché, but I’d be hard pressed to find something that doesn’t inspire me. Ideas emerge in the quiet mundanities of life alongside the moments that blow my mind. Being an artist gives me space to work with the vast themes of history, philosophy, freedom, romance, the sea and the beauty of nature… and focus in on the slightest detail of a specific block I’m making.
Who are your biggest influences? Over the past few years, I’ve read everything by the writer and philosopher Albert Camus, which has had a huge influence on my work and me as a person. His writings on justice, freedom and the absurd have inspired new meanings and obsessions in my work. Also, after a recent trip to Mexico, the tradition of political and social print activism was amazing to see, and to meet the people doing it every day. I wasn’t aware of its cultural and social importance, especially the prominence of woodcut and lino printing that we found everywhere in Oaxaca.
What does your work mean to you? It means freedom, which means everything. My time in the studio is where I’m most thoughtful and where I can live my hopes and dreams, deal with the anxieties and fears in life, and ponder the absurdity of it all. Plenty of existential questions – thanks Camus!
What techniques do you use? My central process is woodcut printmaking, cutting plywood with hand tools such as knives and gauges and printing with inks on various types of handmade paper, my favourite being Japanese Hosho paper (which might sound a bit specialist, but you can buy a 10 metre roll for £12, and it’s well worth it). Drawing and mono printing is another part of my studio practice, which has become more important over the past few years. The looseness and lack of repetition in those is exciting for me. You get one shot.