BEDTIME STORY: ALESSANDRA & COCO
WHO THEY ARE:
Illustrator and author of HELLO GRIEF and I USED TO HAVE A PLAN
Creator of A.OK, an all-natural body oil (“Apply all over, feel A.OK”)
Daughter, Brooklynite, artist, reader, rising 3rd grader
Brooklyn, New York
Dodo Banana was the brainchild of Fiona Montgomery and artist Alessandra Olanow, friends who met almost 20 years ago. Though Alessandra is no longer involved in the day-to-day (or, rather, morning-to-bedtime), she still makes her Dodo mark by creating some of our most beloved hand-illustrated prints, including the classic Banana, as well as a few new additions to the family — Octopus and Frenchie.
Alessandra lives in Brooklyn with her daughter Coco, one of Dodo’s original muses, and they were kind enough to answer some questions for a very special edition of our Dodo Bedtime Story.
Up first, Alessandra:
WHEN DID YOU BEGIN MAKING ART:
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember! I always had a crayon in my hand.
WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATION
I find inspiration in what I see. Walking around my block, I’ll notice the color of the leaves or a kid in a hat with cat ears whizzing by on their blue scooter. All of the interactions and gestures between friends and neighbors spark ideas of connection and creation for me.
WHEN DOES YOUR CREATIVITY TEND TO HIT?
I usually feel most creative at night when there are fewer distractions. This allows me to think more freely and be more inventive with my work.
EARLY BIRD OR NIGHT OWL?
Somewhere in the middle.
COFFEE OR TEA?
FACT OR FICTION? (WHICH DO YOU PREFER TO READ?)
Fact. I feel like I’m always flipping through several things at a time.
PLAYLIST OR PODCAST? (WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO?)
Playlist. (Listen to Alessandra’s “There’s Room” Spotify playlist here.)
WHERE TO NEXT:
Driving my daughter up to New Hampshire for her first sleepaway camp. She can’t wait. I’m terrified! :)
I bought a really pretty perfume.
Two pairs of jeans from a little vintage shop around the corner from me.
Okay, Coco. Your turn!
Popcorn popped on the stove.
Black and white.
YOUR DREAM PAJAMA PRINT?
Inspired by them all, but currently loving (and hoping for) pandas.
PJS OR NIGHTGOWNS?
PJs for life!
FAVORITE DODO PJS?
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.