Alice Bloomfield’s animations and illustrations explore human interaction. Speaking to It’s Nice That she explains how themes of “sex, unrequited love and sadness” interest her the most. “I put a lot of effort into the study of people”, says Alice, whether it be drawing passengers on the bus or examining other artist’s work, the animator intimately captures idiosyncratic facial expressions and body language. Her linear, figurative style is reminiscent of manga with cool hues and rich compositions. When she first learnt to draw “I found it useful looking at anime comics as the drawings are skilfully simplified to express the bare, essential characteristics for each emotion”.
The musician Puma Blue approached Alice to make an animated music video for his new album Blood Loss. The video’s concept revolves around the feelings of “when you’ve ended a relationship and you need to let it go but you’re not quite ready to yet”, explains the animator. The melancholic mood is reflected in Alice’s choice to set the animation underwater, conveying “feelings of being trapped under a huge weight and being lost all alone in the expansive blue. The opening scene sees the whole sky transform into the sea which acts as a visual metaphor for the protagonist’s decline into depression”, explains Alice.
“The animation takes place in a bustling city which would normally be full of life, but his inner grief causes him to have a completely different perspective,” says Alice, and so the city becomes desolate and isolating. Blood Loss is immersive with its mellow-paced beat accompanied by Alice’s dreamy visuals. Inspired by Gaspar Noe’s Enter the Void, Alice similarly “uses a lot of gaudy flashing neon lights to mask the melancholy undertones. Whether people are trying to hide their sorrows under the colourful lights or simply distract themselves, there is something so enticing about the contrast between the busy nightlife and feelings of loneliness”.
Initially, Alice developed her animation process through the painstaking method of tracing drawings and changing them in minute increments with each frame. As well as enjoying a sense of satisfaction after a labour-intensive process, Alice also “loves the flaws and irregularities that comes with scanning hand-drawn frames; the creases of the paper, the dust on the scanner and the slightly irregular lines”. Alice now animates straight onto a graphics tablet which cuts out the scanning time; “with this process you still get all the irregularities in the line as its all still hand-drawn but it’s easier to see what you’re doing as you can flip between frames”, she explains.
The Blood Loss animator is currently looking to explore new areas of her practice, working towards an ambitiously long project which will all be animated on paper. “What I love about the process is that it forces you to learn new things, not only technical skills but ways to push drawing even further”, says Alice. “For instance, to animate a person turning their head you need to be able to draw a head from every angle. As an artist, especially nowadays where there’s so much cutting-edge technology at our fingertips, I don’t think I could just settle on one medium. The more I experiment and learn, the further I can push my art and discover news ways of communicating and creating imagery”.