Alex Turvey is a man that does everything – and he does it well!
Turvey is a director of music videos and also a designer. His has created videos for Bright Eyes, Grizzly Bear, Cheatahs ♥ Warrior and most recently Lilly Wood and the Prick feature a mix of live action and animation and use soft sculpture sets, characters in animals costumes, body parts made out of fuzzy felt and glitter explosions to create worlds that are at once both fairytale like and macabre.
In the design realm, Turvey works embraces collage, photography and graphics. Not only has he designed record covers for Fake Shark Real Zombie and Lilly Wood, but in his spare time, snowboards for the Palmers range (featuring Turvey’s all time favourite sea beast the
Kraken). Oh, and limited edition T shirts for Top Shop and Nike.
As part of the Portable Fashion Festival, we’re presenting two of Alex’s films – Frankenfashion
Alex is now a part of mixed media outfit Strange Beast. Alex was attracted to the position as a director “because of the range of aesthetically challenging work and also the evident passion for developing directors both creatively and commercially. ”
Its a long way from his youth by the sea in Cornwall. Now, up the river in London, Alex has gained recognition as a top young creative entrepreneur by Dazed, and the Independent, as well as being highlighted in the top six new director / designers at Boards.
With all that glitter, the future’s looking bright for Alex Turvey.
Portable interviewed Alex recently:
What do you think defines a great creative? How would you define talent?
I have always admired those who are able to realise the seemingly impossible. Self belief in combination with raw passion and a dash of stubbornness is key.
Could you tell us how your background has shaped your career so far? What were the strongest creative influences you’ve had? Describe your earliest creative memory…
Growing up by the sea, Cornish folklore had a huge effect on my creative thinking as a child and it’s still with me today. The theatrical, macabre, ritualistic and often sexual performances that I witnessed being paraded through the streets of local villages have definitely left their mark on my work. One particular favourite is the Obby Oss festival. Each May, a horse-like chap, the ‘Oss’, dons a gruesome mask and a huge black cape under which he tries to catch young maidens as they pass through town. Powerful stuff when you’re a young boy in a small town with a lucid imagination.
With my father being an illustrator and my mother a costume designer I have always been around craft. I love the process of costume and the transformation that it brings to the human form. I think this is fairy evident in my work as I rarely show the human figure in its entirety—there’s always an embellishment to the skin, a huge head piece or a mask obscuring the form. I like nothing better than textural landscapes, anatomical drawings and glitter; I also have a fetish for the human heart.
Other than this, I like Edgar Alan Poe, Twin Peaks and cats.
Do you believe in developing and perpetuating a distinctive stylistic approach to your work and what are your influences?
I originally studied as a graphic designer, which has evidently had a definite approach effect on the stylistic approach to my direction.
I obsess over composition and color and have a burning desire to exaggerate and manipulate every form in frame. I don’t like things to be as they are in real life; I work to create my own universe.
Tonally I believe there is a thread that links throughout my films, although stylistically I’m always looking for a new direction, I get bored of aesthetics very easily, so I like to experiment with new aesthetics with each project.
Who are your idols? What are your obsessions and your pet peeves?
In all honesty my idols are my parents. Both are incredibly talented illustrators and costume / textile designers.
Apart from my parents I have never really followed, or been influenced enough by anyone else to class them as an idol.
I despise being controlled in any way or form!
What drives you and your creativity? Could you describe your process?
I’m very spontaneous, and instinctive, there is absolutely no practical thinking involved in my process. If I have an idea, no matter how improbable, I’ll find a way of realizing it…Regardless of budget limitations etc. I love the challenge and hate defeat!
How do you juggle all your creative projects?
I don’t think I’ve stopped being busy for over 4 years now. Without the pressure of deadlines and the adrenaline rush of shoots I’ll feel quite lost. So my brain has become quite accustomed to the art of multitasking.
Film seems to have become the new medium for fashion expression. Do you think this is a trend or will this platform become mainstream? Will film overtake the power of the catwalk show?
This is not a trend, it’s progression. A hugely exciting change is taking place, one that will no doubt become a more and more integrated with catwalk.