Opulent, sleazy and filled with narrative: The illustrated world of Alice Bloomfield keeps on growing
The multi-talented, multi-faceted creative is constantly on the lookout for new ways to develop her art, and keeps a pocket full of references for when inspiration strikes.
When we first met London-based animator and illustrator Alice Bloomfield, she was a student still fine-tuning her craft and finding the kind of projects which inspire her. Now, she’s become an established artist in her own right, amassing thousands of followers online thanks to her intricate and uncanny aesthetics. More often than not, her pieces stretch across the gap between the arcane and modern girlhood, picking up on otherworldly motifs to hook in viewers and get them questioning all that they see. Recurring ideas are an important part of her work. “I’m a big collector and have always been intrigued by objects, especially how much you can tell about someone by their belongings,” Alice tells It’s Nice That. “I use motifs and objects to build a loose narrative in my work, and give an idea of what kind of people my characters are, while still leaving room for the viewer’s personal interpretation.” Lots of the items Alice draws are things she owns herself, but she’s also constantly turning to 70’s interior design books, extravagant cocktail glasses and retro ashtrays – “anything which gives my work an opulent but slightly sleazy feel,” she says.
As her work continuously grows in popularity, Alice is steadfast in keeping a humble demeanour. For example, she doesn’t let the large online following get to her head, whether that be via intimidation or ego stroking. “Having strangers compliment your work on the internet is always wildly validating, so if anything I’ve found it all encouraging,” she says. “The only downside is that sometimes it’s tempting to just recreate the drawings which have popped off on social media, instead of experimenting and trying something new.” Thankfully, Alice remains consistent in pushing herself in to new areas of illustration and animation and trying out new ideas. Her latest work – an animation for South Florida Sky, a film made with Louis Blue Newby and Laila Majid – was presented on the screens of Piccadilly Circus, and is completely distinct from the work she does as a director at Black Dog Films. Both of which are comparatively different from the work she did for Netflix’s pop-up store, and so on and so on.
Still, with so many projects on the go, at such a young age it can be quite a frantic headspace to be in. Alice’s talent speaks for itself, but there is a definite method to the madness. “I’m definitely a process-driven artist and I am always looking for new techniques, software and different forms that my art can take,” she explains. “Figuring out a new process and adapting my work to fit the medium keeps me engaged and excited about art. I think if I was doing the exact same thing 10 years down the line I’d be pretty bored.” Comparing Alice to only four years ago in her first feature on It’s Nice That, we can see how that ethos has already started to pay off. What began simply as a series of illustrations in her portfolio have become artworks that are adaptable to all forms of animation and movie making.
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Alice Bloomfield: Riso Print (Copyright © Alice Bloomfield, 2022)
The adaptability of Alice’s work is a testament to her drive to be different. One peak at Alice’s Instagram and you’ll constantly find a well of inspiration in her works – what she’s doing, how she’s doing it and where. It’s to no surprise that her next animation coming out this autumn is at the Outernet building on Tottenham Court Road in London. “I’m really excited about it because the building has a room of insanely huge 360-degree screens, covering all the walls and ceiling,” she tells us. “I had a lot of fun playing with the space and designing the animation to be as immersive as possible.” As an artist who has always covered as diverse a range of characters in her artistry, the step towards immersive participation for all viewers is exciting to say the least. “For this project I created a lot of 360 panoramic shots where animations flow from one scene to the next,” she explains. “I’ve never worked on anything like that before which resulted in a lot of trial and error, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how it all comes out.”
The massive scope of the Outernet project is ambitious, but entirely within Alice’s wheelhouse. Yet, as an artist always in commission, it’s hard to imagine she’s had time to carve out creative projects for herself. These incremental but important practices of creating for creating’s sake is a repeated philosophy that artists often stress on. Thankfully, Alice has slowly but surely been working on carving out the space for such a thing. “I’m working on a short film, it’s a passion project,” she says. “I’ve never worked on a big animation project which hasn’t been commissioned, so working without a deadline or any client input has been so refreshing.” By opening back up to the whims of her own artist hand, Alice has found herself back in the arena of experimentation. “There’s a lot of time to really perfect all the experimenting, which is always ideal for me,” she adds.
As she gears up for another exciting year full of promising projects, this young illustrator and animator continues to be an unstoppable force.
Copyright © Alice Bloomfield, 2020
About the Author
Joey is a freelance design, arts and culture writer based in London. He was part of the It’s Nice That team as editorial assistant in 2021, after graduating from King’s College, London. Previously, Joey worked as a writer for numerous fashion and art publications, such as HERO Magazine, Dazed, and Candy Transversal.