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Yoni Alter

Artist Spotlight

Fun - Impactful - Colorful

Yoni Alter continually explores the realm that separates art and design. His extremely vibrant coloured works navigate and often cross the line between the figurative and the abstract - between form and space. In a playful manner his pieces address notions of semiotics, iconography and minimalism. They challenge the viewer to look twice and provide them with a colorful burst of joy and excitement. 


Alter studied art and design in Jerusalem before completing his MA in Graphic Design at the University of the Arts London. The city of London has since become his home, as well as an endless source of inspiration.

We interviewed the artist to learn more about his artistic process.


Q. Did you always want to be an artist?

A. Not really. I was always drawing and making creative artworks from a young age but never gave too much thought about the future. Only in the first year of my studies at the Art & Design academy I realised that there are contemporary artists creating incredibly interesting work and that this could be a tremendously exciting and enticing profession.

Q. Your work seems to explore an area between graphic design and art - how do the two relate for you?

A. I was trained as a graphic designer but over the years I gradually made the transition to artistic practice. I think it is evident in my art. My artwork follows the principles of design.

The first series that gained me recognition as an artist was a prints series titled "Shapes of Cities" which manifests design principles and is being taught in design schools.

Q. How do you choose your subjects? Does childhood nostalgia play a role?

A. Sure thing, but many other things play a role as well. It can be something that catches my eyes, it can be something from my own life and experiences and it can be something which is derived by process and experimentation with form, color or material.

Q. Could you describe your creative process?

A. I love experimenting with ideas, techniques and materials. While I am working on one piece I always get ideas for other pieces. For example, while working on "Shapes of Cities" I got the idea for the layered paper collages. In the city prints I was drawing the shapes of iconic buildings - the shapes were overlapping to convey a sense of cityscape.

While I was doing that, I came up with a thought about testing the relationships between the shapes in a different way. So rather than have the shapes overlap I tested nesting one inside the other. This led me to the layered paper cut-outs (the shapes are cut out of colored sheets which are stacked up). After testing this with the buildings, I thought I'd try other iconic shapes and that's how I got to toons characters. The offcuts from the toons-cutouts sheets were colored pieces shaped like the characters. I played with these pieces and that's how I came up with the "Toons Tumbler" and "Toons Wreath" artworks.

Q. What would you like your work to evoke in the viewer?

A. Joy! Excitement! The feeling that everything is possible! I want my art to be enjoyed by as many people as possible. I want the colors and shapes to be an uplifting experience for the viewer.

The viewer doesn't need to know anything about my intentions and motivations in order to enjoy the artwork.  For example, with "Toons Tumbler" I notice how people get excited by gradually recognizing more and more characters. Everyone knows these iconic characters and although it looks like an abstract piece, at first sight, the characters start to reveal themselves the longer you look at it.

Q. Your pieces vary in material from paper, to plexiglass, to aluminium, to wood, is there a reason you choose to work in such a wide range of media?

A. I don't plan it. I keep experimenting with ideas, techniques and material. I'm very curious and get excited by exploring new things. I do most of the design work on a computer and then the fun part is to see it coming to life using materials. Each material creates a different magic.

Q. What other creatives, books, music, or movies inspire you?

A. Some of my favorite artists are Koons, Lichtenstein, Haring, Kapoor, Josh Sperling. I love contemporary art so Tate Modern, MoMA, contemporary art galleries curated contemporary art Instagram accounts. 

Cities inspire me. London of course but also NYC which I love visiting. One of my all-time favourite films is Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing". 

Q. What would you like to achieve as an artist?

A. World fame! But not for the sake of being famous but for having so many people enjoy the work that I make. I make it because I want people to enjoy it, I want to add some joy and optimism to the world.

Q. Could you describe your work in three words?

A. Fun, impactful, Colourful.