hello there. so a boy wrote some words about me and interviewed me and other people and things..this is his online zine: button thief..but here is the article anyway..(i didnt do costume at uni)..
Thr33 is a magic number
Many of us would claim our dream job would involve one of our hobbies, but two! Isn’t that just greedy? Alex Curtis is one woman who could argue with that.
Any fans of the Luke Leighfield/ Dartz!/ Tellison school of indie rock can’t help but have seen a very distinct style of art being used in their favourite bands flyers, posters and album covers. This quirky brand of simple sketched lines holding in pastel colours is the distinct style of Thr33 designs, the work of Cambridge artist Alex Curtis: The woman behind the art for a whole host of magazines, events as well as bands right across the genres. While Alex is involved in photography, make up and costume design she is probably best known for her off kilter drawings. “I’ve been drawing pretty much all my life. Both my parents were artists, and my dad had a studio in the house that I used to create a bunch of mess in. I can’t remember not drawing!” While Alex has had no formal drawing tuition, opting to focus on costume at university, it has allowed her to develop her own style. “I think my stuff usually has a surreal dark edge, but I tend to use quite bright, vibrant colours.” The walls of her stuffy Cambridge studio are layered with scratchy sketches peppered with the occasional photo, as CD stacks rise out of the floor representing her other love, music. “I’ve always been a fan of music and that’s really how I’ve ended up where I am. I get to do both, which works really well.”
Working on a freelance basis means Alex’s regular clients are essential to her business. “I love working for new people but I have done a lot of work with the bands Tellison and Chillerton, and I design the posters for a monthly short film night in Cambridge. The only time that I really ever turn down work is when people expect me to work for free, unfortunately like everyone else I need to eat and pay bills! ”
Henry from Tellison explains why he is so keen on Alex’s designs. “A lot of art that is used in our "scene" is rather cutesy and sweet and is often very polished and ‘photoshopped’ but Alex's has a real raw and rough feel which I like allot. She did this great T-Shirt for us of a horse with an arm coming out of its mouth holding a keyboard. It sounds a bit surreal and weird but it worked really well. She's just really good at composing and crafting images that you wouldn't expect or hadn't associated with the subject she's designing for.” Bailey from South coast band Chillerton agrees: “We have always liked Alex’s work for us and other bands, she has a very cool style that is both detailed and fun to look at. Alex always seems to have ideas and a real passion for what she does.”
"I find it really hard to keep concentration on something for ages. I’m not a perfectionist!"
Working within such a web of bands means that Alex’s art is always on display, and being involved in promotion means every time a poster or flyer is made it’s another advert for her work. “Myspace is the main source of people contacting me. Bands and artists are very much benefiting from using it. Usually I get work when a band emails me about a flyer or poster and I’ll draw them something.” Alex seems keen to accommodate most bands needs: “Often the bands I work with will have great ideas but a small budget, so we'll talk things over and if I can I will work something out with them. First I try to arrange what a band is looking for and I will see how to achieve it. It is a lot of trial and error. I find it really hard to keep concentration on something for ages. I’m not a perfectionist, hence why the majority of my work is very simple.” Henry from Tellison praises her efficiency: “Alex is really easy to work with and pretty quick at getting sketches and ideas back to us. Which is real useful. There is nothing worse than having to wait ages to see what things look like. She is someone who you can trust to come up with original ideas and designs. She interprets the ideas you put forward in weird but wonderful way.”
Alex name checks Pablo Picasso as a big influence on her work: “I love how he regressed back to trying to draw like a child. Also I think Quentin Blake has had some influence on my unconsciousness: I read quite a lot of Roald Dahl as a child. Aside from other artists everyday emotions and music, especially when it’s for the band are influences, there’s no specific thing every time though.”
Despite music being so closely linked with her work Alex still notes the importance of it as a fan “I have quite a diverse musical taste. My favourite bands are probably Les Savy Fav and Queen.I don’t know what that says about me? But other stuff I’m listening to right now is Algernon Cadwallader, Lemuria, Fleet Foxes, Sam Cooke, Iron Chic, Two Gallants, and Beirut.”
It seems Alex is experiencing the best of both worlds, but where does the hobby end and work begin? “I’m one of those people who can integrate their hobby and not find it a problem, in fact I a great job. Sometimes if I really want to do stuff for a band I will hassle them, but I probably don’t do that enough.” So what can we expect next from Thr33? “I have a few things lined up as always, I think that one of the downsides of working freelance is that it is my only income so there are times that I am ridiculously busy and other times where I am less so.” The unfinished drawings on her desk, patiently waiting for her to finish talking to me, suggest she is doing just fine.