Four Questions for Anna Haifisch

She draws foxes and snakes and all manner of strange beasts, and so it is only logical that she should call herself Anna Haifisch (i.e. Anna Shark). She was born in Leipzig in 1986, where she studied in Prof. Thomas M. Müller’s illustration class at the Academy of Visual Arts (Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst). She works with silk-screening, edits several self-published fanzines and publishes in anthologies such as Two Fast Colour and Smoke Signal. Anna’s drawings tell of bizarre encounters and everyday events between punk concerts and benders, the subway and the gutter.

Where does your passion for foxes come from – and who are the “Buddies”?

In Leipzig there are lots of foxes running around freely. One night I saw one come out of the Nikolaikirche. He prayed a bit and read a little in the hymnal. Right now, while I’m answering this question a little fox is running down the street. He’s wearing a tiny cape and is snarling

The “Buddies” are my stupid friends who always behave badly. You have to apologise constantly for them. The “Buddies” are lazy, and they don’t have any particular viewpoints, either, they’re too dumb for that.

Slideshow Anna Haifisch

You studied in Leipzig and then went to Brooklyn on a scholarship: what did you profit most from?

Best of all were the people I met in Brooklyn. Thanks to James Turek I devoted myself to comics again, through my boss Wolfy Part II I learned that one can draw and print a poster in a few hours. That was lots of fun. The city was a great inspiration as well, of course. I saw three or four concerts a week, with more or less good bands, then all the exhibitions – I wasn’t bored for a second.

I also profited from “Four Looks.” That’s a drink the “Buddies” always drink. It’s a kind of alcoholic soda pop with some sort of energy stuff in it. It’s now prohibited in New York. The “Four Looks” hit the market in four different tastes, and they tasted absolutely awful. But after one can you acted like one of the “Buddies.” After two cans most people’s lights went out. An inspiration for the “Buddies” comics!

What is the special draw of the risograph printer you work with?

The risograph is an awesome mixture of copy machine and silk-screen. Instead of a toner, you slide in a colour ink roller of your choice and can let a colourful image arise by overprinting several colours. The great advantage is that the risograph is unbelievably fast. I’m always very impatient and want to see results as fast as possible. With the risograph one can produce one’s own books in a proper print run. That’s pretty wonderful and is what makes this technology so attractive to graphic artists.

You studied and also worked as a teaching assistant at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig. How did you experience the transition from student to instructor?

I worked as an assistant. In the beginning I did worry whether it was right when one knows so many students from one’s own student years. But I wasn’t employed in a position of authority; instead my job was to motivate the students and present new graphic artists as a source of inspiration. It was cool to see what talents there are among students. To be sure, this period influenced my own work, too. Teaching was a lot of fun. It was the first activity that didn’t feel like work. Optimal, really.

Rieke Harmsen conducted the interview.

Copyright: Goethe-Institut e. V., Internet-Redaktion
May 2013

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