We have a lot to thank Instagram for. Not only is it our favourite time-waster, but it’s also responsible for some of our most coveted fashion, beauty and art finds. However it’s rare for something to really stop us in our tracks mid-scroll - but London-based illustrator Alexa Coe did just that.
After recently being stocked in this summer’s incarnation of The Basics Store (ran by former Glasshouse-featuree Marina Guergova), Alexa’s hand drawn prints have ended up firmly on our radar. It’s easy to see why. The minimalist line drawings feature a myriad of subjects - from women’s bodies to fruit, words, feet, boobs and lips. Often lined up and pinned to the wall of Alexa’s studio, we were instantly captured by her fresh, unfussy and female-focused approach to illustration.
“I graduated from a Masters at CSM about a year ago now” Alexa told us, “I went back to do it so I could really try to pursue an illustration career. Though the process was not linear and I had a lot of failed attempts, it feels like it’s all just starting to happen which is super exciting.”
A quick glance at Alexa’s work and you’ll begin to realise that this girl knows how to draw a nude. Always of a female subject, sometimes with a splash of colour and often with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humour, Alexa’s nudes have become her signature. Her Instagram has garnered a loyal following of Coe fans and features the odd picture of Alexa at work in front of her paper. We particularly like her artist get-up of knickers, strappy tops and high-waisted jeans (what else would you draw in?).
So why is it that Alexa is so interested in women when it comes to her drawings? “I guess everyone has a message they want to express and this was mine” she said, “I became increasingly conscious of the ongoing fights through feminism. So much of the system which keeps females feeling un-empowered is down to the restriction on their bodies, all across the world and at varying levels. So my reaction is to learn how to re-own it - to take back my own sense of pleasure and views of a female body.”
Alexa’s certainly not an isolated case in the creative world. From journalism to photography, the way women are represented has become more challenged and political than ever. Her prints might be aesthetically-pleasing and Insta-friendly, but they carry a deeper meaning which we can’t help but admire.
When she’s not poised pen-to-paper, Alexa can be found cycling, dancing, yoga-ing or at The Towpath Cafe in the sunshine.
“London is all about juxtapositions within the environment and its people” she told us, “It is also a city of ups and downs which is sometimes hard to live with, but offers you an amazing space to learn and develop as a person.”
We couldn’t agree more. Head over to Alexa’s Instagram for a snapshot of what she does best. Her prints are available exclusively at Liberty.
Words: Lucy Vincent
All images: Alexa Coe