Interview with Sophie James for Monk Arts Magazine (abridged) ~ November 2018

ALODIE FIELDING sits curled on her red-velvet divan surrounded by bohemian bric-a-brac, surreal paintings, large ammonite fossils and Puffin Club magazines; a modern doyenne of the enchanted silhouette, her crooked house in South London (she’s the business owner of the art and design house, The Crooked Style) the dark-gothick corners of her extraordinary imagination spill over the ground floor, at once family home and a psychic-mirror of her artist’s studio.

“I was brought up in Tooting in the 1970s reading Joan Aiken, building dens on the dark Common within spitting distance of the mental hospital… There were peeping toms in the bushes and the occasional escapee from the asylum...”

Now illustrating the third collection of supernatural short stories for author Sarah Gray, the techniques for drawing have changed slightly since she was a student at Falmouth producing her fairy-tale yet sinister, burlesque etchings of the circus and carnival (“I always had a penchant for a Georgian wig…”). These days she’s as likely to mix delicate pen and ink hand-drawn scenes scanned, layered and elaborated with computer craft. 

I admire the current illustrations for the forthcoming collaboration, Urban Creatures. They are both shadowy and playful, full of fairy-tale mystery and urban grit – surrealistic whimsical London scenes, I’m tempted to say Dickens meets Blade Runner – there’s an integrity there that yields to the reader’s imagination, fulfilling our ancient appetite for both aural story telling and simplistic imagery. 

Silhouettes strike across the page, gothicky buildings, foxes, children, pussycats, strange shadows… a visual language of their own, detailed yet illusory, meeting the imagination and also leaving the space for its own interpretation. It is a visual conjuring of the most striking kind. Not for nothing is this called the'art of the shadow'...

I'm aware as I leave the dark quixotic energies of her bohemian drawing-room and emerge blinking into the lights of Streatham, that I have been mildly bewitched, mesmerised into the other- wordly theatre of Alodie Fielding's imagination, a place where children play and ghouls trail starlight through the dark secret places of the soul. November 2018 

Sophie James MONK