Fix your eyes: the drawings of Scottish artist Fiona Michie

Posted by fionamichie on March 08, 2013 in Blog tagged with ,

I believe my love of the gothic began in Alvah. My childhood home in the middle of the Aberdeenshire countryside. We lived in an old school house called Linhead, that sat next to the derelict School. I even remember the night my parents and I went to view the house. A small old lady answered the door, then took us through a dimly lit hallway into the living room. The place seemed so big and dark and as I sat next to the roaring coal fire, casually listening to the lady talk about the house, I knew there was something special about Alvah.

My two older brothers and I would often play in the old school, playing football in the old class rooms or climbing onto the roof to collect lead. The main door into the school was boarded up but we managed to prize it open. I would often go there on my own, playing ‘schoolies’ on the original chalk boards but there were parts of the school that I would never enter, like the cloak rooms. Just peering through the door and seeing all the empty hooks covered in dust and spiders webs was enough of a thrill.

Alvah also had a few ghosts, like the mad axe man of Alvah who would always come to visit when granny was babysitting…tapping his axe against our living room window whilst one of us was missing or the midnight handbag prowler who climbed our stairs at night, stealing granny’s handbag.

As I grew older my eldest brother’s record collection fascinated me. I loved gazing at the record sleeves of bands such as Black Sabbath or AC/DC. His taste in films was also a big influence. When my brothers were babysitting me I got to stay up and watch the Twilight Zone, or 70’s and 80’s horror films. ‘The Company of Wolves’ by Angela Carter and Neil Jordan made a huge impression on me. I loved the combination of beauty and the macabre. It is still to this day one of my favourite films.

My tastes and interests have varied over the years. I’m currently finding inspiration for my work in ghost stories, particularly from the 19th century including M. R James and gothic romanticism in literature and film. I’m especially inspired by works that deal with the symbolic connection between femininity and nature for example the recent, and in my opinion haunting 2011 film adaptation of Jane Eyre, as it captures Jane’s psyche beautifully by reflecting it in the weather and changing natural landscape.

Lastly but by no means least, I cannot forget to mention how the rural landscape of Scotland and its folklore has been a constant inspiration to me. I just have to step outside my front door, go for a walk and ideas start to unfold. Magic!

The image above, Flightless, is featured in Magpie Magazine, issue 5, Metamorphosis. Celebrating the new folk revolution in art, writing and music, it is available to buy online:

For more info and images of my work:

Upcoming exhibitions:   The Wing Assignment, curated by Nina Farrell. A thematic mix of wing inspired artwork adorning the decaying walls of a 17th century chapel in Peckham. SE15 2SQ
28th – 30th March 2013

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