Alexandria Coe for ROWSE

 

Hi, Alexandria, could you tell us a bit about you and your background?

I love and work in London. My background isn’t that exciting. I grew up in a country in the south east of England, and came to London when I was 19. I have always loved drawing and have often used it as an escape. I have a masters from St Martins and ever since I have lucky enough to do this for a living. I hit rock bottom in my early, mid-twenties, I had no money and fragile mental health. All I wanted to do was draw for a career. I rented a cheap studio and began to work. Thanks to Instagram I managed to make the dream a reality.

 

What brought you to draw naked bodies? What does attract you to this particular subject?

I think I’ve always been curious about the way humans communicate with each other and especially via our bodies. I think as women we express a lot in our bodies and I wanted to express that through drawings. I wanted to make people feel a little uncomfortable too, and force them to look a naked body and reflect back their own ideas of nudity.

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You mostly draw women bodies, I’m curious to know what have your learned about femininity through your practice.

Femininity is about being yourself I think. Being the most natural and human you can. 

 

Sometimes you work with models, others with your own body. Can you tell us a bit about your way of working?

If I have a model I am lucky! There is nothing like working from a human body in real life. Sometimes I work from my reflection or sometimes from found imagery. Though in all cases I work the same. I start with rough drawings and then keep working at the same drawing. Re drawing it until it is so simplified to a couple of lines.

 

Your lovers series is also beautiful. There’s intimacy, vulnerability. Could you tell us a bit more about this exploration of desire?

I started this project during and throughout the end of a relationship, they were a lot about drawing what was missing, the desire and intimacy I was craving. For me they were a way of understanding a relationship and heartbreak.

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What does sensuality mean to you?

Sensuality is about something that really engages both your senses and emotions. Sexuality and sensuality are often combines but sensuality can also be a simple experience day to day. For me it’s about taking pleasure in something.

 How would you say that your relation with your own body has changed through your practice? Have you always been comfortable with your naked body?

No, though I would say now I am the most comfortable person I know nude. It’s a very un- British trait! I used to have a very negative outlook on my body, until my mid to late twenties when I started to explore how a woman’s body can be such a tool for liberations. Being naked can feel really empowering. On the other hand it’s very raw and vulnerable and those contradictions I believe makes the female body so beautiful.

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What is your idea of raw beauty?

We are all beautiful. Raw beauty is when you believe it yourself, that you are beautiful and therefore it radiates out of you.

 

Could you tell us about the women you admire?

My mother, my friends, especially those who have been my biggest support. All the women who speak up for being a woman, I admire them all. Those writers and artists who have and will continue to inspire me. I read a lot of Angela Carter as a young adult, The Magic Toyshop was my first introduction to feminism and I’ve just finished Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie --her little book We Should All Be Feminists is a pocket sized gem. I am inspired by the journeys and inspirations of other women. The story and the feeling you get from their art as the soul in it, you can really feel this sense of a woman behind.

 

What about this collaboration with ROWSE? What does the Summer Body Oil inspire you?

I want to show freedom. It’s what we are all craving right now. Summer feels like the moment every feels most themselves, is happiest and has the fullest days. I wanted to see a woman in motion, moving towards the light.

 

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Words and pictures by Alexandria Coe 

 

 

 

 

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