Too big for just one post, we've split the interview into two. Today's questions focus on the formation of the project, as well as serving as an introduction to the cartoonists themselves. Decidedly un-politicised, their thoughts regarding the origin and purpose of their collaboration can be read after the jump, along with a selection of cartoons featuring: ruminations on growing older, dreams, romance, and the psychic art of wax-strip reading.
Anna BB: My name is Anna Bas Backer, I’m from the Netherlands, where I studied at the Art Academy in Amsterdam (together with Maartje). I graduated in 2003 and moved to Berlin, where I still am. I started making work in the art context, mostly drawing and painting. After I finally made the painting I had been trying to make for a long time, I started looking for new challenges. Maartje got me onto comics and I slowly started involving them more and more in my work, until finally I was just lost to them entirely. I still work a lot with exhibitions and group projects, perhaps a typical visual-artist approach. But I’ve become a sucker for entertainment. [her blog]
The focus on female creators is something Anna and Paola decided when they invited artists to participate in the blog. To me, it is a complicated issue. Any collaboration that involves only women is seen as a statement or a conscious decision, although if we were all men there would be few questions raised. The idea that there must be a feminist agenda behind any all female collaboration is a deceptive one. I know very few people -male or female- who aren't feminists, but I am aware that I live in Western Europe. I don't think the feminist cause is served by excluding men, and any feminist dicourse should include them.
That said, the blog has addressed very few, if any, specifically feminist concerns.
Also, that it could open up contact and communication to other female artists. We simply didn’t know so many and suspected there must be a lot. We wanted to get to know them and work together. Only some of us really knew each other well before the project, and many didn’t know each other at all.
I became involved because I met Powerpaola in an collective exhibition she curated here in Buenos Aires, at LDF gallery, in June 2008. I knew her work a little bit, but when I saw her interesting and personal drawings and I talked with her, I identified. Well, that evening she talked to me about the Chicks on Comics project which she had been planning with Anna Bas Backer and invited to me to participate.
On my trip back to Europe I passed through Madrid and Paris and we had two opportunities where we met each other. Pretty much on the spot we decided we wanted to work together. I don’t know if she remembers it this way too but the only way I can describe it that we thought it would be fun to form a bit of a ‘gang’ with other girls. Communicating together, build a network and have fun.
Continued tomorrow, true believers!