Since graduating from Plymouth University, Alexis Marcou has been living and working freelance from Greece. For us, it’s a combination of digital and hand sketched illustation that makes his work almost tangible. We talk to him about his latest collaboration with NIKE and he explains why self initiated projects are essential in every artist’s career.

How did you become involve with NIKE?

NIKE founded me through a project I did, called Cocaine, which was a self-initiated project. And that’s why I value those more than commision projects. They are the fishing baits, they draw the attention of the company. At that time NIKE wanted to produce something related to a skeleton, which I worked on a lot for Cocaine. So that’s how it all started…

You use a very small selection of colour in your work. Why?

I like to focus more on the design and the structure. But as years go by I started adding more colour. As you can see with the NIKE campaign, JUST DO IT, it wasn’t actually my choice, but they pushed me to use more colour and it came out better than I thought. Generally I always use a minimum selection because I like to tone the pencil and I don’t like the colour to wipe it out. I like the structure of the pencil more.

From all the projects you’ve done so far, which was the most rewarding for you as for an artist?

I think the project I did called NOIR. I was trying to play with photorealism and verting it into the computer age and then build up from there so I felt like it was a pilot project. It was definitely the most experimanetal thing I’ve done and I like what I’ve done with it. It was definitely something different.

How does you creative process work? How do you get inspired?

Every project is different. For every project I make a folder that I put everything that drags me to the mood of it. For example, for the Designers Against Child Slavery I thought of using pink make up to make it even more disturbing and affect more people. I tried different ways to put this make-up on the paper because it didn’t want to stay in, I had to experiment a lot. That is the example of a random, real-life inspiration. Other than that I am always very inspired by Cubism, Minimalism and photography.

Tell us Alexis, what are you working on at the moment?

I have just finished collaborating with Jaybo on the Cisco project we did in London. At the moment  I’m also working on 3 other projects for NIKE, unfortunately I can’t get into more details…