Interview of Chloe McAlister by Sophie Pellegrini
Tell us a bit about yourself!
Hi! My name is Chloe McAlister, I’m 27, and I am an illustrator and graphic designer from Brisbane, Australia. I work full-time as a graphic designer and marketing coordinator for a footwear label, which is good fun. I fuel my passion for illustration after-hours, drawing cool, strong ladies; dark and gloomy subjects; and anything that inspires me. I love going to gigs, eating fries, reading comics, and watching TV comedies in bed with a cup of peppermint tea.
How did you get started in illustration?
I kind of just started one day! I always drew comics and zines when I was a child and teenager. I stopped when I got older and started working as a graphic designer. Partly because I didn’t make time/think I had the time, and partly because I didn’t see the merit in spending time doing something I wasn’t working on for my career. I’ve since learned after working for years, that it’s important to make time for the things you enjoy doing. And if you work hard enough at it, you’re bound to make some progress. I’ve been illustrating more seriously for the past 18 months.
What’s your favorite thing about the medium?
I like that I can represent all the weird, awkward, self-deprecating facets of myself and the cool people I know (and don’t know). I can give them a story, and create this little world for them. I love it, it’s quite cathartic. Well-adjusted, confident characters are totally boring. I’m usually driven by the story-telling aspect of illustration. I suppose in that way, I treat the process like writing in a journal, or meditating.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
As you can probably tell, I love a monochromatic palette. So I usually stick to that — and I’ll throw some grey in if I’m feeling flamboyant that day. 😉 I suppose I would say my work is a little bit noir, a little bit badass, and very female-centric. I like to create bold illustrations, and I like the challenge of creating something visually intriguing without relying on any colour. The same could be said about my wardrobe.
What inspires you?
Comic books, mainly! A recent favourite of mine is I Kill Giants, illustrated beautifully by J. M. Kim Niimura. Daniel Clowes and Robin Eisenberg are a couple of my favourite artists. I’m also inspired by musicians, funny people, pop culture, and anything annoying or ridiculous that happens to me during the day. One of my ultimate goals would be to write and illustrate a comic series or book.
What do you do when you aren’t creating artwork?
When I’m not illustrating, I try to spend my time on other creative activities. I play drums in a band, and I love reading. If I need to venture outside the house, I’ll go see a comedy show, some live music, or go out to dinner — I love Harijuku Gyoza, because I can get a poke bowl and fries at the same place.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I’d probably head to Tokyo. Either Shibuya or Shinjuku. I love the atmosphere there. It’s a very tidy, friendly city; there are loads of small doggos about, and there are always a bunch of cool things going on. The packaging of products, the ads, the streets, anything and everything you can get your hands on in a day is designed impeccably and is totally gorgeous. Loads of cool stationery stores and dive bar gigs would keep me occupied.
Do you have any current projects you’re working on that you can tell us about?
I’m currently working on a couple of editorial pieces for some music publications, which I am super excited about. I’ve also started storyboarding for a new comic series I’m going to work on independently, so that has been keeping me busy. I can’t wait to start showing some of it.
Can you leave us with one of your favorite quotes?
“Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.” – Frank Zappa
How can we keep up with your work?