• Idle Chit Chat

Patriarchy, Periods, and Paris: All in a day's work for illustrator aliomalley

We catch up with aliomalley who has designed Christmas cards, (available to buy here) raising money for Bloody Good Period, a UK charity fighting to provide period products to everyone who needs them.

Image: Christmas card designs for sale here

Alio, how do you find inspiration to come up with so many ideas?

I think, luckily for me, the things I love to draw about (feminism, relationships, the patriarchy etc) have a never-ending array of scenarios waiting to be tapped into!! I usually have ideas simmering away for a long time where I know I want to create something around an idea but am not totally sure how. And then there’s the snap moment where it formulates. That’s always the best bit because it’s so clear in your head and you can sit for five hours without moving, just getting it down on paper, or an iPad. I also rely heavily on family and friends who provide ideas and angles my brain wouldn’t even have considered otherwise.

Favourite artist and why?

Quentin Blake for his simplicity and genius. His drawings define so much of my love for drawing and remind me of the hours spent copying his illustrations when I was younger. I also love Charlie Mackesy, whose illustrations pull me out of dark moments and have such beautiful words accompanying each image. ‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse’ makes me cry every time I read it. And finally, Anna Rocke, because her pieces are magnificent and she creates such detail and texture. Insta: @annarocke - check her out!!

Why did you choose to donate some of your profits to Bloody Good Period?

I remember there being a lot of embarrassment and secrecy surrounding periods when we were younger: the whispers of needing a tampon, sneaking them under jumper sleeves, and the worst: that eye-widening moment where you thought you’d leaked. Bloody Good Period have created an incredible way of showing that periods aren’t shameful or disgusting - they’re normal. Changing the narrative whilst also tackling period poverty in the UK is unbelievably important. And with the recent news in Scotland (free period products for all!), you can already see that they are creating change in an amazing way.

Snog, marry, avoid? Harry Styles, Emmanuel Macron, Graham Norton???

This is hard lol. I’d have to marry Harry seeing as we’ve both done covers for Vogue. I think we’d have a lot to talk about. Then I’d publicly snog Monsieur Macron to get my name on the cover of the French papers and raise my social stature in Paris. Which sadly means avoiding a great love of mine, Lil Graham.

When it’s not lockdown where do you hang out in Paris?

L’Express de Paris at Ménilmontant for cheap pizzas, pints, and rhum arrangé! And not a day goes by where I don’t pop in La Petite Roquette, a magical thrift shop where I somehow find everything I need, as well as things I definitely don’t need, aka, roller-skates. But for now, we must make do, shivering with a hot cider by the Canal Saint Martin.

What would be your advice to other young women wanting to be artists?

I can only speak as an artist who is just starting out, but the two things that keep me going and happy are: sharing my work with close friends and family constantly for encouragement and conversation. I think it’s important also to have another job if possible, to provide financial security, especially at the beginning, and also to add some diversity to the hours spent drawing on your own.

What’s your absolute favourite thing about Christmas?

In a normal year it would be the build-up. All the lights and the gatherings with mince pies and singing carols. Roasted chestnuts, red wine, and allowing yourself to do everything in excess wielding the excuse that it’s Christmas. Then going home, where music is always playing, and singing in the kitchen with my sisters. The best is when the karaoke machine comes out. That makes me very happy. “I was working as a waitress in a cocktail baaar…”

Any tips for vegans eating at Xmas?

Eat meat, it’s not worth the debates xoxo. LOL jks, sneak some vegan jokes in the Christmas crackers instead…


How many meat-eaters does it take to change a lightbulb?

None, they would rather stay in the dark about things.

Dream commission?

If Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie approached me to design a book cover for her I think I’d have a meltdown. Or Lorde, as a tribute to Melodrama because that album never got the appreciation it deserved.

aliomalley is an artist and illustrator living and working in Paris.


Insta: @aliomalley_

Xmas cards (and other delights): aliomalley.bigcartel.com

- Mia Sharp