Saturday, 3 April 2010

"Chicks on Comics" Interview (Part 1 of 2)

 Logo by PowerPaola

Today and tomorrow, we'll be publishing our positively gigantic interview with the creators behind the Chicks on Comics blog. Advertising itself as "a comic discussion between 8 comic artists", readers will find the all-female group of international artists drawing strips and images on pre-set themes. Featuring everything from menstruation to memory, their pens cover female-specific issues as well as more universal subject matter.

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.

#38 by Anna BB

Firstly, seeing as this is a group interview, can you tell us a little bit about yourselves personally?

Lilli Loge: I’m 30 years old and I’m currently doing my diploma at the Dresden Acadamy of Fine Arts. I made some self-published comic-books, and for over four years I was the singer/songwriter/guitar player of  my all-girl-band Tittenbonus. Now I’m mostly doing my blog: Comic Sport.

Caro Chinaski: I'm Caro Chinaski, I'm 34, I live in Argentina. I began doing comics in 1996 or so, with my friend Clara; we had this fanzine called Oceano y Charquito. [her blog]

Maartje: I am just like anybody else, and that is what interests me. We all go through life sharing similar experiences, looking for the same things. There is something humble yet unapologetic about comics that makes them ideally suited to tell the stories that make up our lives. When you put two things next to each other our brains are hardwired to connect them. This is something which fascinates me and it is what makes comics so exciting and full of possibilities. [her blog]

Delius: I'm Delius, I'm 36 years old, I live in Buenos Aires. I draw children's books for a living and I collaborate to a weekly magazine for children; I also teach morphology at the Graphic Design department at the University of Buenos Aires. I draw comics about things that happen to me, or observations about life, and I put all that work on my blog: Deliciones Delius. I live with my husband, my little daughter and my siamese cat in a PH flat, spacious and bright.
#61 by Maartje

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]

Clara Lagos: My name is Clara Lagos I´m 34 years old, I live in Buenos Aires. I work as a web designer I'm also a cartoonist but it isn't my principal job. [her blog]

Ulla Loge: I've been living in Berlin for nine years. For almost three years now, I`ve been studying script writing at a self-organised filmschool (the "Filmarche"). Together with Anna, I`m doing a monthly comic-strip called Night Vultures for Exberliner magazine ["Night Vultures" extracts can be seen on Anna's and Ulla's blog]. Anna, my twin sister Lilli and I are also part of the Renate Comicgroup, which also releases an annual comic-magazine, called Renate.

PowerPaola: My name is Paola Gaviria. I was born in Ecuador and my parents are Colombian. I studied Fine Arts in Colombia and won a residency program in Paris, so I lived there for two years. I lived in Sydney and Buenos Aires as well. When I lived in Sydney, I had a part time job as a kitchen hand. I thought that my life sucked so I started to make fun of myself in comics. [her blog]

 #51 by Ulla Loge (Ah, the 80s...)

To you, what is the purpose of Chicks on Comics? Why the focus on female creators?

Caro Chinaski: I intend to have fun and learn something in the process, like in all the other areas of my life. I didnt really care where the focus was when I joined Chicks on Comics. Gender was not a deciding factor.

Maartje: The purpose of Chicks on Comics is probably different for each of us. I enjoy the interaction with other comic artists. My usual comic work takes me some time to create, so it is also nice to have a forum where you have a set context and time frame to do something in.

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.

Delius: The purpose of our blog is to make a conversation in frames, between girls in different parts of the world, talking about different subjects, which change periodically. I think the focus is on female creators because the conversation is between girls. We talk about chicks' point of view on life, and maybe things that happen only to girls, like waxing or childbirth. But we don't make the focus specially on those things, it depends.

#22 by Caro Chinaski

Anna BB: My first reaction is that there is no focus on female creators. Not for us while we are working. But it was our intention for it to be a project with female authors. We expected we would have a lot of fun together.

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.

Clara Lagos: I think it's a cool exercise; girls love to talk and we are cartoonists... I think it´s funny!

PowerPaola: In Colombia, we don't have a comics culture, just a small amateur group of guys that do it. I personally need to have discussions and dialogue with other girls that have the same interest in telling comic stories. I always felt inspired by comics by girls: Julie Doucet, Aline Kominsky, Debbie Drechsler, etc.

#23, Maartje's answer

What attracted you to this project ? How did you become involved?

Lilli Loge: Anna and my sister [Ulla Loge] invited me and I thought it might be fun.

Caro Chinaski: I was attracted by the blog conversation dynamics. I also knew and loved the work of some of the authors that were going to be on the project, so I was glad to be part of it. I was invited when the blog was just an idea and it soon became what it is today.

Maartje: Anna and I studied and lived together before moving away from Amsterdam and I have always had a lot of respect for her and her work. After art school we got into comics around the same time, even though by then we lived in different countries. When she invited me to take part in the blog and showed me Paola's work, I was immediately interested in the idea.

Delius: I attracted to this because is a collective project between girls in a different places. I like the exchange between us, and how different works and voices can make a dynamic conversion with drawings. I think this project is possible only with the internet; you couldn't do a project like this before the web.

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.

#44 by Lilli Loge

Anna BB: Through a project that I did in Colombia with comic artists there, I was ‘put’ in contact with Paola. She was working in Paris at the time but the other artists in Colombia insisted I meet her and gave her  email. She ended up joining the project I did there by way of Internet.

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.

Clara Lagos: Paola invited me, she participates with Caro and I in the collective blog Historietas Reales.

Ulla Loge: I was invited by Anna Bas Backer to take part to this project. I was attracted by the idea of having a regular platform for publishing comics and the challenge to create a comic-comment within a specific discussion about one theme.

PowerPaola: So, when I met Anna Bas Backer in Madrid, I asked her: "Where are all the girls that do comics?". We decided to join with more girls to do a blog, to have this dialogue by frames.

# 17 by Clara Lagos

Continued tomorrow, true believers!


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