features, , ,

alexis bukowski: powerful details and gracious shapes

Monday, September 5th, 2016 | T: lamono

We don’t know for sure if his life is as relaxed as a bike ride, something he assures in this interview, but what we do know is that his ride is composed humorously with his natural charisma. This illustrator stole our heart and his pencil is always #ReadyForMore, that’s how it has to be, since it’s the only manner in which Bukowski can understand the world, and not just in it’s artistic aspects but as the whole entity that presents itself powerful in every single detail. He is one of our chosen ambassadors this afternoon, walking around wearing the Converse Chuck II, allowing us to know his a little bit better, asking all the crazy things that roam in our head. T: Felipe Duarte F: Laia Benavides



Your name is Alexis Camacho, why Bukowski? Is it because of Charles? Yes and no. It comes from Charles Bukowski but I ended up ‘seizing’ that nickname because of my high school friends. I was always walking around with a book by Bukowski under my arm; I became obsessed with that guy, hence my friends started calling me like that: “Hey Bukowski, lets go!” When I opened my Facebook account I decided to use Bukowski as my last name, until people started believing that was my real name. But anyway, the final conclusion is that it doesn’t have any transcendence or relation with my work.

Which is the first illustration you remember doing? The first illustration as such, being commissioned, was for the town hall of Santa Coloma de Cervelló. I illustrated the cover for the high school agenda. I think I was eighteen years old or so. So what? You have to start somewhere.

And which was the first piece you sold? If I remember correctly, I wasn’t paid for the illustration for the high school agenda, though I’m not sure. So if the mayor or high school director sees this, and they did pay me, I’m sorry. If the didn’t, that’s what you get.


Why did you decide to study advertisement and not fine arts? Actually I really wanted to study graphic design, but it was too expensive, so advertisement was what (my innocent and poor kind soul thought) resembled the most. I didn’t even thought about studying fine arts, I couldn’t stand the idea of drawing what the teacher wanted me to. Paradoxically, I ended up becoming an illustrator and drawing what the clients want me to (even if it’s just sometimes).

The line is very present in your pieces, hence the drawing is very visible, which artists or artistic movements have influenced your process and evolution as an illustrator? Well, artists that have really influenced me are almost all of the ones within the comic art movement: Daniel Clowes, Frank Miller, Dave Gibbons, Mike Mignola and a very wide and large etcetera. As for the artistic movements, I cannot determine precisely which, though I believe all of them, or at least all the ones that have caught my attention. When I was obsessed with the minimalism of the sixties, it was the one that I had more notoriously present, yet, a month later I could be going nuts with the pieces of Hoper or some abstract expressionist from New York in the fifties.

Which do you consider the biggest accomplishments you have achieved so far? Having an invoice paid on time. Nah, I’m kidding. I think it’s beautiful to make a living out of this, I don’t know, I’ve been drawing since forever, I have always given away my drawings or stored them in a draw in my desk, so the fact that someone values what you do or that they are interested on me, as with this interview for example, it’s really cool (I’m sorry if you’re disappointed with my excess-LESS, UN-passionate life)


Life should be a relaxed bike ride

What do you like the most about the Converse Chuck II? The sole. Thanks to Converse I can wear the same shoes for a long time and my feet won’t hate me.

Which characteristics do you share with Converse? That my real last name starts with C. Naaaaaa, I’m kidding. I think the lifestyle inherent to the brand, especially its more urban side; I grew up in parks and squares, playing on the street, I had no PlayStation.

Which have been the biggest difficulty and the biggest reward being an illustrator? The biggest difficulty was to decide to be an illustrator. The moment in which you decide to quit a stable job (related to what I had studied in college) and reject a couple of work offers to say, “No, here I am with all my recklessness and craziness, and I decide I’ll make a living out of doodling”. What’s been most rewarding has been to see how absolutely everything and everyone around me has been honestly happy with every accomplishment I have achieved (no mater how small or trifling it seemed).

Are you really ambitious and usually set plenty of goals for yourself? Fuck, yes. Excessively. Precisely, today as I was driving, there was this old man ahead of me and he was going VERY VERY VERY slow on his bike. As I passed ahead of him I saw his face, and the serenity he conveyed provoked some kind of click on me. Life should be that, a relaxed bike ride (at least every now and then, and not just fifteen shity days during summer).

In which way are you #ReadyForMore? Put anything on the table and I’ll say yes.

Which is the next goal you have set for yourself and what are you doing to achieve it? My next goal is to do my first large comic book (with more than four pages, come on). I’ve been working like a dog until forever o’clock at night when I finish all the commissioned pieces that allow me to eat.

What do you hope to achieve by the end of your days? There’s plenty of time left for that and, as I have said before, I want to ride my bike very slowly, but I’ll get there.

What does it mean to you to be always ready and how do you achieve so? Coffee. I achieve it thanks to an Italian machine; I really don’t like the Nespresso or anything like that.


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